What we didn’t learn about Collin Klein’s injury

6 Nov

We knew Kansas State coach Bill Snyder would reveal nothing on the status of quarterback Collin Klein at Tuesday’s press conference. When first asked about whether Klein would play, the coach simply answered, “I certainly hope so.”

Several minutes later, he said he expects Klein to play. Before coming to that conclusion, though, he gave reporters a rather detailed and sincere monologue about his policy on talking about injuries instead. Here is his response in full – with commentary to follow.

***

“Let’s cut to the chase,” Snyder said. “I understand your position [as members of the media]. I truly do understand you have work to do and a job to carry out. So do I.”

“I understand your role. My interest in our players is beyond football, and I always want to do the right thing for young people in our program. I think any coach in the country would feel exactly the same way.”

“I don’t want to put any young person in any undo jeopardy whatsoever. That is why I don’t address injuries. I have tried not to. I have probably said more than I should on some occasions, but I try to accommodate you. My first and foremost interest is in the young people in our program.”

“Technically, it’s against the law to talk about someone’s health without their approval.”

“Collin will not be here this afternoon. He would have been here. He is perfectly comfortable with coming and visiting. I just did not want to put him through that because I know the bombardment that he would have to endure, and he was perfectly willing to do so. He is that kind of a young guy. He is a wonderful young man.”

“Would I expect him to play? I certainly hope that’s the case, and I would expect that to take place.”

***

As a member of the media, it pains me to say that if I was a coach, I wouldn’t discuss injuries either.

Most of all, saying 1) how a player was hurt and 2) how limited he is because of the injury increases the chances that he will be targeted during a game. That would be bad for the team and potentially very bad for the individual who had earlier been injured. It would be nice to think such targeting never happens, but that’s probably not realistic.

Obviously, disclosing what type of injury occurred could also give opponents an advantage on how to play against that individual. For example, if a rival team thought Klein had an ankle injury, they might expect the pass more because his running ability would be somewhat neutralized. If they thought his wrist was banged up, they would anticipate he would throw less and scheme accordingly. The possibilities go on.

Obviously, these are the same reasons Snyder also tells his players not to disclose injury information.

They certainly get asked.

When a reporter inquired how many times Travis Tannahill had been questioned about Klein’s health, the tight end smiled.

“Dozens,” he said. “We’re probably coming up on a hundred now. You just kind of shake it off and say, ‘I know, but I’m not really allowed to tell,’  and you know Coach. Definitely want to stay in Coach’s good graces.”

Understandable. On all counts – those of people asking, and those of others declining to answer.

The silver lining to this lack of knowledge? It sounds like we’ll see Klein on Saturday.

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