Leach talks sexual violence and concussions

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

Cougar football Head Coach Mike Leach answered questions regarding sexual violence and concussions during the second and final 2017 Pac-12 media day Thursday.

Students at WSU recently nudged the university to avoid recruiting athletes with a history of sexual violence. Leach was specifically asked if he thought a “blanket ban” was, in his opinion, a positive step toward reducing sexual violence on campus.

Leach said this is a problem of great proportion, but he remains unsure of whether a blanket ban is the solution.

“The thing is the combination of innocent until proven guilty, but then if you are guilty, I think you get rid of those people,” Leach said. “The second worse thing would be being accused of sexually assaulting someone.”

If an athlete already attending WSU were to be suspected of sexually assaulting someone, Leach said he believes that athletes should be suspended until all the facts roll in.

A study published by JAMA recently surfaced, showing that 110 of 111 (99%) deceased NFL players had evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). This is a brain disease that has continuously been linked to the extreme contact of American football.

“I’d also be curious like drugs or steroid use, how that impacts some of the people that have had the scans where their brains are bad and things like that,” Leach said. “So, I think we need to address all the variables on it from every angle we can.”

Reporters also asked Leach about redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk, and more specifically, if he was worried about Falk’s health.

Falk was carted off the field due to a massive blow to his head in November of 2015 during a game against Colorado. It was later determined that Falk suffered a concussion. Cougar fans may remember this because it came shortly before the Apple Cup, in which Falk did not participate.

Leach was initially hesitant to answer the question, noting that he only knows of one concussion that Falk has suffered. He then admitted that coaching staff must always be more careful to avoid and treat concussions.