The Pro Football Concussion Report

A Fan's Look at Head Injuries and the Concussion Crisis in Football

Does the NFL Care about NCAA Concussions?

USC Medical Staff and Robert Woods


Update: Check out Aaron Gordon’s excellent investigative piece on the current lawsuit between former USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead, his alma mater and the USC team doctor, James Tibone.

Originally published 4/6/13:

USC wide receiver Robert Woods is getting plenty of interest from NFL teams prior to the 2013 draft, according to a report by Mike Florio of NBC’s Florio says that Woods, a junior at USC, has likely raised his draft position from 2nd to 1st round since having a good showing on Pro Day. Based on the assumption that a player can only safely suffer a limited number of concussions in a career, it would be interesting to find out if NFL teams are counting concussions when taking taking account of a player’s medical history.  

Woods appeared to suffer a spectacular concussion during last season’s USC – Utah game.  The standout wide receiver was nailed by Utah’s Brian Blechen during a punt return, but USC team medical personnel quickly evaluated and approved the star receiver for return to play.


After the hit, Woods was slow to get up, then stumbled down the field for about 10 yards until helplessly falling face down to the turf.  USC Head Athletic Trainer Russ Romano was already on his way toward Woods as he went down. USC team physicians James Tibone, M.D. (Orthopedic Surgeon) and John Brodhead M.D. (Internal Medicine) joined ATC Romano on the field to examine Woods. It appeared that Woods even broke away from Romano for a few seconds and tried to return to the huddle. As he was escorted off the field, Woods seemed to regain clarity pretty quickly and later was said to pass whatever type of concussion testing was administered during the one play that he missed.

One twitter report surfaced from Brian Smith, a volunteer reporter for, that he witnessed the brief sideline concussion test and that Woods failed it. According to Smith, Woods was asked several questions including the math problem “subtract 7 from 100.” Spoiler Alert:  Answer is 93. 

After the game Head Coach Lane Kiffin bragged about Woods’ toughness.

“For him to go back into the game, a lot of guys would have stayed out awhile,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “That shows what kind of tough kid he is.”

Kiffin appropriately made it clear that the decision to let Woods back in the game was not his, but a decision of the medical staff.

Only 2 months prior to the incident, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden boasted about the school’s new focus on safety with the hiring of Dr. Brodhead and a “proactive” approach to concussions.

“I’m told that our concussion protocols are as good as they get.” 

Haden did not reveal who told him that.

Separately, USC and team doctor Dr. Tibone are currently involved in a lawsuit with former lineman Armond Armstead. Armstead claims that Dr. Tibone administered too many shots of the painkiller Toradol. The lawsuit claims that the school ignored the risks of the drug and never explained them to the players. Armstead suffered a heart attack after the 2010 season when he was only 20 years old.


Return to Home