There is a reason why Wayne Gallman does not remember anything from the hit he took from NC State safety Dravious Wright on Oct. 15.
“He was knocked unconscious immediately when he was hit,” Clemson co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Tony Elliott said on Monday.
Gallman told reporters, as the third-ranked Tigers prepare to take on No. 13 Florida State this Saturday, he remembers catching the ball, running up field and then waking up in the training room.
“It’s like I went to sleep and woke up in the training room,” the running back said. “I saw a video of myself walking off. I don’t even remember that.”
Gallman wanted to get back in the game, but Clemson athletic trainer Danny Poole determined the 6-foot, 210-pound junior had a concussion and held him out. Gallman did not think it was a concussion, but there is a reason why Poole makes those decisions and not the players.
“He came back to and really did not feel any symptoms from his head or his brain being injured. I think it was more about how he was feeling as opposed to not wanting to call it a concussion,” Elliott said. “Danny and those guys took him, they evaluated him and found out there was something that was not right and kept him out of the game.”
Now there is speculation if Gallman will be back for Saturday’s game in Tallahassee, Florida. Gallman says he is going to play, though he will not know if he will truly play until Poole clears him or not prior to Thursday’s practice.
However, Elliott is a little more cautious. Though they are hopeful their star running back will be full go by Saturday. Gallman was limited in practice all of last week and worked with the team on Monday, though practice was lite and there was no contact.
“If you ask Wayne and you look at him, he looks fine. But again, I don’t live in that world medically to diagnose it safely that he has cleared it, but I know that they talked and they have good hopes of him playing this weekend,” Elliott said.
During concussion protocol Gallman went through different tests and drills with his helmet on. After he ran, they checked to make sure he did not have a headache, if he was dizzy, if he saw any bright lights and was the sunlight hurting him at all.
“I passed everything,” Gallman said.
Years ago, when a player took a shot like Gallman did against NC State, he more than likely returned to the game because trainers and the team doctors were not educated enough on what was a concussion, the seriousness of them and the long term effect they can cause.
Concussions have been shown to be the cause of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), which has led to player suicides and other debilitating symptoms after retirement, including memory loss depression and dementia.
“I think there is a heighten sense and a heighten alarm about concussions. I think you have more data over the years to see the potential long term effects of guys that have suffered several concussions,” Elliott said. “I let Coach (Dabo) Swinney and Danny Poole, and all of those guys, determine the actual protocol. If they say a guy has a concussion you want to lean on the side of being cautious.
“You don’t want to put them in there. They have their computer systems and their analysis they use to make sure that young man is fit to come back and compete.”
And right now, the Tigers don’t truly know if that will be on Saturday night or not.