Mountaineers Looking to Heal From Injuries to CJ Donaldson, Others
West Virginia head coach Neal Brown was very frontal when describing the status of his team’s health following Saturday’s loss to conference foe Texas.
Several Mountaineers sustained injuries during the contest, including a scare with running back CJ Donaldson, who was carted off the field.
“We got beat up pretty good in that game,” Brown said during his news conference on Tuesday. “We had a couple significant injuries. I think four concussions.”
Donaldson was injured during a third quarter play where he rushed for a first down on 3rd and 2. Upon approaching the ground, Donaldson’s head hit the knee of a Texas defender, causing him to lie on the turf for a period of nearly 15 minutes.
After having his jersey and pads cut off, Donaldson displayed a positive sign to his teammates and fans with a thumbs up as he left the playing surface.
Around an hour after the contest ended, Donaldson was cleared to travel back to Morgantown with the team. The freshman running back also created a social media post assuring fans and others that he was alright.
WVU RB CJ Donaldson Offers Positive Message Concerning Status of Health
“He’s recovering,” Brown said of Donaldson. “He’s in our concussion protocol. I appreciate everyone that’s reached out about CJ.”
Brown has already ruled Donaldson out for the Baylor game, but declined to comment on any other Mountaineers’ situations, saying it was too early to make a determination.
One of the apparent West Virginia injuries was sustained by tight end Mike O’Laughlin, who did not return after taking a lower-body hit while attempting to haul in a pass from JT Daniels during the team’s second offensive series. A redshirt junior, O’Laughlin suffered season-ending knee injuries in both 2018 and 2021.
Brown also said two of the Mountaineers’ cornerbacks suffered injuries, but did not specify who. This would dig West Virginia into even deeper of a hole concerning its defensive backs, after having already lost Charles Woods, a pre-season All-Big 12 selection.
Despite Woods’ injury, which occurred in West Virginia’s season-opener against Pitt and required surgery, Brown remains optimistic that Woods will return sometime this season. As for Donaldson and others, Brown said they are under the control of the Mountaineer medical staff.
“Our medical people handle all of it,” Brown said. “What we talk about is if we think there’s something off, we alert our medical team. That happened with two of our guys that got concussions. They were a little off, and we were like, ‘Hey, you need to check them.’”
Donaldson and the other Mountaineers are the team’s concussion protocol which has to be created and sent to the NCAA for approval.
West Virginia Football Clarifies Concussion Protocol Concerning CJ Donaldson
West Virginia’s program consists of five phases, including (in order) light aerobic exercise with no resistance, increased intensity of exertive activity, sport specific activity with no head contact, full competitive practice and finally, return to competition.
Between each phase, a player must be 24 hours symptom-free before advancing to the next level. If symptoms occur, the player is sent back down to the previous level.
While adding he would provide more information on the injured players as the team’s next matchup with Baylor approaches, Brown said he wanted to thank West Virginia’s and Texas’ medical staff for their help with the game’s injuries, particularly Donaldson.
“I really want to credit our medical staff, but also Texas’ medical staff and operations at the stadium,” Brown said. “They did an incredible job helping. I want to recognize them.”