Surrey’s McGill plays in defeat to Phoenix despite “concussion”

Cheshire Phoenix made easy work of Surrey United on Sunday at the Northgate Arena, but it was the revelation post-game from United head coach, Jack Majewski, that his key forward, Brandon McGill played after suffering concussion in Friday’s game against Newcastle Eagles.

The 96-63 victory for the Phoenix was their first back-to-back victories this year, however, the decision to play McGill, for almost 36 minutes on Sunday, will raise serious questions about his participation.

The 6’4″ American forward only played 26 minutes of Friday night’s game at Sport Central after being fouled by Darius Defoe.

Spectators at that game have noted that Majewski had looked to have wanted McGill to carry on playing, but was advised not to another member of the Surrey United organisation. He was then substituted out of the game and did not play any further part in Friday’s loss.

Majewski seemed to be open about the fact the player had suffered concussion when speaking post-game on Sunday night.

When asked how disappointed he was about the loss to Cheshire, considering improvements over the past two weeks, Majewski said: “You rightly point out that we have had two weeks of improvement, attributed to Brandon McGill playing very well for us; he had concussion after the Newcastle game, where he played 26 minutes and had 21 points; today he was a shadow of his former self.”

He carried on to say: “He’s very important to us that he scores – opens things up to make passes to Ceslovas [Kucinskas] inside. Let’s face it, we don’t have many options to score without him.”

When asked if McGill was cleared by medics to play against Phoenix, Majewski said: “That’s a good question; no he wasn’t [cleared] by medics, but he said he was completely OK, he didn’t feel any kind of effect from what happened in Newcastle. He was shooting quite OK on Saturday; he was fine. When he started running, he didn’t feel very good in the warm-up.”

Majewski, when asked again if it was his decision to play McGill, said it was not – that it was the player himself who said he felt enough to play: “Brandon did [make the decision that he was available to play], but before the game Brandon was saying he was completely OK, and during the game he looked very, kind of, on and off. Clearly it was not Brandon, proper Brandon which we know him from. He was really important to us.

Majewski did say that McGill will be looked again for a reassessment: “We thought that after today we need to see our physio, how he feels, spend time with him, how he’s doing and we’ll observe him very closely at the beginning of training and at the beginning of the week – that is our priority. But no matter who we are signing, Brandon is like a godsend to us who has had massive, massive games since he’s joined.

However, one would be inclined to argue that in order to reduce such heavy losses for Surrey, the necessity to play a player of McGill’s calibre has been seen to outweigh the safety of the player whilst the wait for other import players carries on. Majewski did state that there would be an addition this week of another import signing.

The decision to play McGill after Friday’s events could now come into question considering the recent high profile incidents in professional sport that have seen concussion occur in play and how it has been treated and dealt with after it has occurred.

Early in November, in the English Premier League, Hugo Lloris, goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspur lost consciousness after a heavy blow to the face by the knee of Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, whilst a week later Manchester United’s Nemanja Vidic was taken to hospital after colliding with team-mate David De Gea in their match against Arsenal.

The issue surrounding concussion has been a major one this year in the States, with a lawsuit, from ex-players, settled by the NFL for $765m regarding the long term effect associated with concussion, and another very recently brought by ex-NHL players.

The NBA, in 2011, put in place their own policy on concussion, but it was never released publicly until this year after Mike Wells from the Indianapolis Star made a request after the incident surrounding George Hill of the Indiana Pacers when he was kept out of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

In terms of how the game played out, the home side took their time in working through the gears, but opened up the scoring within the second quarter mainly thanks to the work to drive inside by Reggie Middleton.

A 22-point lead at half-time was to only ever extend, and keeping focus throughout the third quarter allowed that to happen.

Phoenix took their foot off the gas late in the game with the W in the bag, and Surrey pulled points back, but the credit for that came from fouls cheaply given away by the home side as the clock ran down.

*Update* The debate on this issue so far this evening has seen Brandon McGill take to Twitter saying:

And also suggestions of what maybe the BBL can put in place in the future:

Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

  1. Shocking at Newcastle. Mc Gill clearly was not well and took an age to get help. Eagles fans physically having to get SJA to come and look at him. Majewski’s apparent visible lack of concern for his player was terrible, seemingly compounded by his attitude at Cheshire today

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