Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post-concussion concerns, symptoms lead to Peters’ leave from KU

Kansas University newcomer Zach Peters chats with teammates as players signed autographs for kids attending Bill Self's basketball camp on Sunday, June 17, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas University newcomer Zach Peters chats with teammates as players signed autographs for kids attending Bill Self's basketball camp on Sunday, June 17, 2012, at Allen Fieldhouse.


Former Kansas University basketball forward Zach Peters will head home to Plano, Texas, after his last final exam on Dec. 13 with no immediate plans to continue his education or his athletic career.

“I need to go home and basically heal,” Peters said Monday in announcing his decision to leave school after one semester of his freshman year because of the effects of post-concussion syndrome.

The syndrome, which has hampered Peters’ ability to focus, can last up to a year following a concussion.

In Peters’ case, he has suffered five incidents of trauma to the head in the last 14 months. The 6-foot-9, 240-pounder first suffered a concussion at the LeBron James Skills Academy the summer of 2011 — prior to his senior year at Prestonwood Christian Academy in Plano. His next concussion came playing wide receiver his senior year for Prestonwood’s football team.

At KU, he suffered one concussion in July and another in September. Wearing a protective helmet at workouts following his second concussion at KU, he nonetheless took a shot above the eye, which opened a cut that took about 10 stitches to close. Tests, however, indicated that contact did not result in a concussion.

For the past several weeks, Peters has suffered a loss of focus blamed on post-concussion syndrome. Medication has not helped the situation, necessitating Peters to leave school and his sport behind.

“I don’t know anything except the research that’s been done (on concussions) and hearing from doctors and visiting with Zach’s family. It’s an inexact science what concussions really do and how they affect you years down the road,” KU coach Bill Self said on his Tuesday Hawk Talk radio show.

“You can pass concussion tests and all that stuff and go back out there and 10 years later have some things happen. Our medical staff is great. They don’t think there’s anything to the point where there are any concerns (regarding long term damage). The CAT scans, MRIs (indicate) no concerns. (But) the more frequently you have (concussions), there is a tendency to continue to have them. What would appear to be a normal broken nose ... an elbow to the head is a broken nose to some and concussion to others.

“This is my personal opinion ... Zach and I talked about this a lot. Health-wise, now, he is fine. He is concerned about maybe putting himself in position ... if you watch him play, he leads with his head every possession,” Self said. “To throw that in with his shoulder (rotator cuff problem), it (shoulder) is not totally well. It is getting better. Just a chance for him to regroup, I think, will be good for him. He will not play basketball this spring. He’s going to go home to probably continue classes maybe in the Metroplex area, basically get to the point where he is feeling good again. He hasn’t felt good in a couple months,” Self added.

A source close to Peters told the Journal-World that the Peters family is pleased with the care shown by KU’s medical personnel, the KU players and coaches. Peters recently changed roommates from Andrew White III to walk-on Tyler Self because, as a walk-on with no playing time concerns, Self might be better equipped to help and watch over Peters.

Zach, in fact, will remain at Jayhawker Towers and be part of the team through the end of finals.

“I want to say thank you to KU, the coaches, staff, teammates and fans that have supported me. I wish it didn’t have to end up like this, but it’s important for me to do so for my future. I plan on continuing to take classes while I’m home (once the symptoms clear up) but I will not be playing sports in the near future,” Zach Peters said. Family members do not wish to comment at this time, leaving the statements to Zach and his coach.

Coach Self said he’d be missed.

“I think he’s a really cool kid. He’d be a kid I’d love to hang with for four years and really get to know,” Self said. “I think he’d have unbelievable experiences here if his health would allow it to happen for him. He hung in there, but I think he was at the point now he’s going, ‘Coach, if I believe I am not going to be here, I’d rather let everybody know rather than fake it right now.’ We wish him nothing but the best.”

Once the post-concussion syndrome symptoms evaporate, Peters will be able to finalize decisions regarding where he’ll continue his education. There are too many unknowns to determine whether he’ll play sports again.

“He told me he visited with his folks (over Thanksgiving) and they are all in agreement he needs a break to allow himself to get his batteries recharged again,” Self said. “The injuries have affected him.”

Point guard play: Self was not pleased with the play of senior point guard Elijah Johnson, who had 13 points off 4-of-9 shooting with five assists against four turnovers in Monday’s 70-57 victory over San Jose State in Allen Fieldhouse.

“He hit his knee against Saint Louis (Nov. 20 in KC’s Sprint Center) and it swelled some. It was sore. He didn’t have near the juice last night,” Self said.

At the same time: “... he’s shot seven free throws for the year — seven,” Self exclaimed of Johnson, who has made six of seven free throws in six games. “Tyshawn (Taylor) averaged shooting 5.5 a game last year. Elijah has shot seven. It tells your right there he is not aggressive and driving the ball at all.

“He is not getting the ball to the paint like he should or like he can. Look at teams across America. I’d say for the majority of teams, the hardest thing to guard is the ball. With us the easiest thing is to guard the ball because we don’t put pressure on people. We have to change it where we are driving it and forcing help and playing behind the help.”

Carrier coming up?: Self said he could envision playing a November game on a U.S. Navy ship or at an Armed Forces base.

“We’ve been asked to do that a couple times,” Self said, noting KU the past two seasons elected to instead compete in the Champions Classic, which has one more year left to run. “I could see ourselves doing that in the future. I’d rather do what Michigan State and Connecticut did, go to Germany and play in one of the sites (bases) and have a chance to experience that. Ships are great and brings recognition and awareness, but there’s also a great chance you won’t play.” Games were canceled on ships in South Carolina and Florida this season because of moisture on the outdoor courts.


Sally Presson 1 year, 4 months ago

Zach, you are doing the best thing for you, I hope you get well soon, completely well. Of course we are all hoping you'll return to KU for your studies, you are a jayhawk, once a jayhawk always a Jayhawk!!! Take it easy and know all of your KU fans are thinking of you and wishing you the very best

Rock Chalk


HawkKlaw 1 year, 4 months ago

Oh my. These conspiracy comments are ridiculous. Head trauma people. Head trauma. I'll say it once more: HEAD TRAUMA.

It's not something to mess around with for the sake of college basketball. There have been many, many players in contact sports who had to retire due to too many concussions. It's not all that unheard of. Get a clue.


JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 4 months ago

As I posted in the other thread, it appears that the health issues are more serious than we know. The article indicates that "Peters has suffered a loss of focus blamed on post-concussion syndrome." Having seen what conclusions can do, I am inclined to think that the condition has affected his school work and that maybe he is, at this time, unable to carry the load required to maintain his scholarship and needs some time off until he can recover enough to resume school work and maybe BBall.. It is likely that this is the bigger concern, rather than playing sports again; as a parent I know it would be mine if my kid was in that situation..


Hozzy11 1 year, 4 months ago

Havent tests have shown that once you have concussions it makes it easier to keep getting them..Im wondering if he hadnt had more than just one during football last year and it just continued to get worse because he was so vulnerable. I was really psyched about watching Zach play after watching his highlights from high school..Maybe one of the players Ive been most excited to see over the past few yrs except McLemore. To bad something like this has to show its ugly face and ruin a promising career. Good Luck Zach hope you can recover and be health and maybe one day show your talents again!


kupopp 1 year, 4 months ago

People who have never had a concussion should not be suggesting ulterior motives in this or any other case. A concussion, or in Zach's experience, a series of concussions, can leave a person permanently impaired.

Google stories about the current condition of Jim McMahon, now just 53 years old, and what his "significant other" has to do to take care of him every day.

Been there, done that, and in my case have about five days of my life that I cannot remember, all due to being undercut in a pickup game years after my playing days were done.

I am frankly ashamed that someone would stoop to throw mud at this young man and HCBS.

Best wishes, Zach. You will always be a Jayhawk.


jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

"On Louisville to the ACC"

Super Corridor expansion up the Ohio Valley got stonewalled at least till 2016 by Obama's re-election.

Until then, Louisville had to take a wait and see position. Had Romney won and the Team Super Corridor been able to leverage the extention to the east coast, Louisville would have fallen in dutifully with JayRock's West Virginia joining the Big 12. But when Obama won, and Rutgers/New Jersey and Maryland realigned with the Big Ten states, it signalled near curtains for the Northeast Super Corridor extention up the Ohio Valley. And no port access in the Bo-Wash Corridor means no north east super corridor feasibility.

So: Louisville, in a border state with divided loyalites between the Big Three in Big Ten Blue states, and with SEC states regional alliance obligations, was free to forget the Ohio Valley right of way issue, and cast its lot with another conference. Since Kentucky already is in the SEC, and the Big 12 was stonewalled out of expansion mode, the logical choices were the Big 10 and the ACC. No doubt the Big Ten would have taken them, but that would have been tantamount to permanently blocking the Super Corridor up the Ohio. The move to the ACC was predictable. It gives the state of Kentucky influence in both regional state alliances of the south. And Kentucky could always back out of the ACC 4, 8 or 16 years down the road. It also keeps Kentucky from getting to far under the thumb of the Big Three in Detroit. Kentucky is a car assembly mecca and has both foreign and Big Three factories, so it doesn't want to get to far under the Big Three's influence.

If Virginia, which went blue this election, and which I forecasted a week ago would be a key state to watch in Big Ten expansion plans, were to jump to the Big Ten, then that would spell curtains for Northeast Super Corridor almost indefinitely (i.e., almost no way to get up the Ohio Valley and into the Bo-Wash corridor with the right of way), or unless and until one of two conditions:

a) Team Super Corridor decides to settle for stemming a lateral from Arkansas across the deep south to a southeastern Atlantic port, which seems an interim ploy at most; and/or

b)Team Super Corridor is willing to make the entire Super Corridor a JV with the Big Ten states.

In the latter eventuality, Kansas could then joint the Big 10 in order to further integrate the forces of Joint Venture.

Short of that, stripping Kansas from the Big 12 would be a bold and risky move for the Big Ten Blue State alliance and for KU. It would strike at the heart of Team Super Corridor. And they would probably not sit by idlly.

Unless Team Super Corridor has completely abandoned its Super Corridor dream, and its bitumen pipeline dreams, a very unlikely prospect, I don't see how KU could possibly get permission from its state government to make the move.


And, of course, its all just a hypothesis. :-)


Timmay97 1 year, 4 months ago

I know this is off the subject, but I thought all you guys would get a kick out of this if you haven't read it already.

A case of humor that sort of backfired for Drew Gooden



jaybate 1 year, 4 months ago

In previous days I've been as puzzled by this, as many.

Frankly, I didn't get it at all until today's quotes added onto the stories of the recent past about this subject, but it now seems to me about as obvious what is going on here, as can be, without the parties saying it explicitly.

My advice to posters is to let the parties continue to resolve their issues and to move forward through their phased separation without the complications and unforeseen consequences of discourse in a public forum.

Its rare that I think this, but this time I do.

I don't see a public interest in this that would make us all the better and wiser for knowing and discussing it.

I don't see a legacy interest in this that would make The Legacy and the rest of us more effective for knowing and discussing it.

And I'm NOT suggesting anyone did anything sinister.

If for some reason, the parties one day were to decide not to continue in amicable separation, and so were going to impact on The Legacy further, then opening it all up for discussion might be appropriate.

Unless and until then, I'm thinking and writing next.


Joe Baker 1 year, 4 months ago

I really wanted to see Zach on the court. However, many believe that his unexpected departure hurt KU's chances with Randle. I think it could go either way with Randle. He may not come now that Zach is gone or he may think his chances just improved greatly. He was in Zach's shadow at Prestonwood.

I posted this on Withey's performance board before know much about Zach's situation. Wiggins- uk Johnson- FL Randle- KU I believe that if Johnson commits to G'town, Randle will commit to FL. If uk lands both Wiggins and Randle, I will crap a brick and scream for an investigation. The absolute worse case is KU fails on all three, life goes on and we are still strong.


FarSideHawk 1 year, 4 months ago

Oak: "How does a lineup of Selden, Frankamp, Embiid, Ellis and Randle with Greene, Traylor, Tharpe, Morgan, White and Rio off the bench sound??!!"

Sounds really good to me. However, I don't think Frankamp will start at PG over Tharpe or Rio. Just going on BS's history. If Randle comes, this is how I think the line-up will look:

Front Court Ellis and Randle start (Joel and Jamari off the bench, Lucas with mop-up or red-shirt-if he plays this year)

Back Court Tharpe, White, and Selden start (Greene, Frankamp, and Rio off the bench)

That is already a 10-man rotation, which as we know is 2 too many for Self, so one of Tharpe/Frankamp/Rio and one of Selden/White/Greene will see the minutes dwindle as the next season goes along. I have a feeling Rio and Greene will see limited time. Mason and Wesley won't see court-time.


Kevin Huffman 1 year, 4 months ago

Somehow it slipped by me that Gordon had narrowed his list and taken us off of it.

Man, I'm freaking pi$$ed that UK remains on his list!!!! He came to Late Night here, JUST visited UK, didn't seem to have ANY thoughts on going there and now they SEEM to be in his top two along with 'Zona. Might even be top one as the froncourt's crowded in 'Zona. UK should lose Noel & Cauley-Stein's more of a "5" than a "4" anyway.

So that list I was thinking of is smaller than I realized.

Can you imagine if UK (already with one of the greatest recruiting classes of all time) landed Gordon AND Randle?!?!?! Or Gordon & Wiggins?!?!?!? Or Wiggins & Randle?!?!?!?

Any combination therof and what was already considered probably one of the top classes of the last 25 years or so becomes the best of all time!!! :(

Pretty much we need Randle or Dakari Johnson at this point.


Emery 1 year, 4 months ago

Maybe Zach just feels he would be more content and happier back home versus staying at KU.


rockchalker5 1 year, 4 months ago

I don't doubt that Peters has some health issues. But there is definitely more to this. What is with the roomate change? Seems like there is maybe a rift between Peters and some of the team possibly? Just appears that this kid wants out, and what better reasoning to justify leaving than bringing up the word concussion. Again, he obviously got health issues. But I thinks its fair to say that isn't the only issue...


Matt Kenton 1 year, 4 months ago

Interesting that he changed roommates from AW3 to Tyler Self. Remember he is a 17 year old kid. Signed at the end of his SOPHOMORE year of high school. He appears to be a smart, good-looking kid, was no doubt popular in high school and had everything going right. Already signed with KU, stud for his high school on the football field and basketball court the next two years.

Then comes to Lawrence, soon goes to Europe and plays well, kind of a whirlwind, misses his friends back home but basketball is going well, then the shoulder problems, AND CONCUSSION CONCERNS/SCARES, can't practice, sitting on the bench in street clothes, not fitting in with his teammates or having any fun, Self suggests red shirting freshman year, missing home and friends even more, changes roommates, goes home for Thanksgiving, sees his family, hangs out with friends, feel like that is where he belongs...

I can't help but think of Luke Axtell and the similarities. Good boys from affluent suburban Texas where basektball is not the only thing they have going for them in life.


Danny Hernandez 1 year, 4 months ago

Beach Hawk, Your comments are very well stated and I too echo your comments

Zach Peters in my book will always be a Jayhawk and I personally would like to slap the face of any poster that speaks ill about Zach

And from my sources, if Zach ever wants to return, Self will accept him with open arms. Bank on it


Dirk Medema 1 year, 4 months ago

You know you are talking to an athlete when they refer to "Normal broken noses".


KEITHMILES05 1 year, 4 months ago

Wesley is already on scholarship.

Peters will not return to KU nor will Self allow it. Stop that gibberish. It ain't happening.

Randle and Peters families are VERY, VERY close so yes, this very well may have an impact on Randle and his final destination. Plus, there is more and more talk in Texas that Randle and handlers have their hands out.

Time to move on. It's over and done with.


Beate Williams 1 year, 4 months ago

I have to agree with konkeyDong and would expand on his thoughts to a degree. His family seemed to indicate they were impressed with what the medical staff at KU has done for Zach but one thing to remember is Texas may be lacking in many areas of education and providing health care services to many people because of economic status but when it comes to health care for those who can afford it, you can't beat Texas, especially if you live in the Dallas or Houston areas, probably moreso Houston than Dallas because of MD Anderson (I know it is a specialty institution, cancer being the specialty but their impact of other institutions specializing in whatever is immense).

Believeing the family has means, I would think they would want their teenage son close to home, especially close to the medical facilities where they could have easily access to the best available physicians. Four concussions in 14 months seems a lot to me and to have the lost of concentration he indicated he has would cause me concern as a parent and I think I would want him close so that I could observe him and try to provide for him the best I could.

One thing that seems to have been overlooked is the fact that he changed roommates so that Self, his new roommate, who had fewer team concerns as a walkon and not concerned about playing time, was initiated so that he could be watched closer. What is that telling us; I think it says that something was going on which required someone to be there or to be around if some type of episode took place.

I feel real bad for Zach, his family and the KU team, but especially for Zach. Obviously he wanted to be at KU and wanted to be a basketball player and it really appears neither of those things is in his future.

Here is wishing him the very best, take care of your health and if athletics have to take a back seat to ensure you a healthy future, so be it. Many a fine athlete have not reached their potential as a result of health difficulties and though it may not be fair, that's life and those with a strong support system and their heads screwed on right, manage to do well in other arenas and it sounds to me like he has that support system and is a smart enough young man to realize that.


Konkis Dongington III 1 year, 4 months ago

On an unrelated note, it looks like Louisville is moving to the ACC. It's expand or die time for the Big 12.


Brianna Zaleski 1 year, 4 months ago

I apologize if this has already been asked, but is it possible, or even likely, that he comes back to KU when his health clears up?


vd 1 year, 4 months ago

I feel sorry for future generations. Us old farts have an excuse for our stupid actions. "Remember, dear, I had concussions playing sports in my youth." A phrase I use quite often.


William Blake 1 year, 4 months ago

There is so much attention these days on the long-term (or permanent) damage caused by head trauma. No way do we want to be on the wrong side of handling this with Zach if he were to play and suffer additional concussions.

This is a tough break for us and Zach. I can't imagine how hard this has been on Zach to walk away from a dream he has had for many years.

Some things are more important than KU basketball, and taking the necessary steps to assure Zach has his best chance moving forward (concerning his health) trumps everything.

Good luck with moving forward, Zach! You will always be a Jayhawk and a part of the Jayhawk family!


mikehawk 1 year, 4 months ago

H. O. E. Health over everything.


midwest_muser 1 year, 4 months ago

Zach Peters was my favorite Jayhawk. I watched him play high school ball. He has a ton of game and could have been a big piece of the puzzle. Classy handling by all of a disappointing situation. Here's hoping Zach goes on to great success in whatever he does.


wrwlumpy 1 year, 4 months ago

He committed to KU as a Sophmore in high school. He won"t play anywhere else.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

I believe that adding this up, the belief that he ultimately would not be in a position to compete for playing time in 2013, or in the future, was the deciding factor. He gains nothing by leaving, other than the ability to play somewhere else later than he would be able to play at KU. If he thought he was be able to play at KU .. get playing time .. there no reason to leave.

All of that makes sense, and no one would criticize that decision making process if it were true.

I do believe, most likely, we didn't get all of the information. And Self already told us in his interview the weekend before Thanksgiving that there is a lot of stuff fans aren't told, "behind the scenes" stuff. Further, we just got the info in this article about Self saying that health-wise, he's fine. Not earth-shattering, but we need to remember that.

My bet .. he goes to Houston, or SMU, or Tulsa, LSU, UTSA, Texas A&M, or somewhere closer to home .. and he enrolls for the fall semester, 2013. And that he's playing come the end of the first semester of 2013.

Regardless, I hope it all works out for him.


Jack Wilson 1 year, 4 months ago

I posted this last night on the other thread. Self has offered some additional information from Hawk Talk quoted in this article. I get all of the comments about Peters wanting to get healthy, etc. It all makes sense.

But the reasonable question is .. why couldn't he "get healthy" here? That is fair to ask. Why leave?

Further, it is reasonable to not believe everything you hear, and to at least wonder if there's more to it. Remember, there was not word one that the concussion thing was an issue. It was the shoulder that was keeping him out.

It seems obvious to me that there is more to this, at least as far as rationale for leaving. Meaning, this decision isn't solely about just "getting healthy."And that's all I'm curious about.

If it was just getting healthy, playing would not be an issue. If "playing" is not the issue, why leave? As a note, by leaving now, he can be eligible to play for someone else appx. mid-December of 2013.

Why not stay, go to class, get healthy, absorb and learn the system, and give it a go next fall? That is my question.

What is even more interesting is Self says very clearly above -- "Health-wise, now, he is fine. He is concerned about maybe putting himself in position ... if you watch him play, he leads with his head every possession." Health-wise, now, he is fine?

But if we allow ourselves to think further, we probably .. maybe .. can figure it out. Bear with me here.

-It is reasonable to believe Peters believes that he needs to get healthy. We've heard it from Peters and Self.

-It is reasonable to guess that Peters thought it was difficult to stay and not be able to participate. Tough situation with teammates, etc. But lots of kids who get hurt have that.

-Those two items don't lead to the conclusion that he should leave. Getting healthy and a tough situation staying and not participating could work going forward.

-It could work going forward IF, and only IF, he was in a good position to compete next season or in the future for playing time.

-That makes sense, right? If he stayed, tried to get healthy, and wasn't ready by next fall anyway, he has bigger issues where playing, period, is in jeopardy.

-He makes the decision to leave now, and he's eligible to play by mid-December, 2013 ... somewhere else.

-If he stays, he's eligible immediately next fall. Why leave and go to another school if you have to wait to play?

-Further, we add to this, that Self says very clearly that "Health-wise, now, he is fine."

-As part of that quote, the clear implication is that the fear of getting reinjured is an issue, which is reasonable.

-Self also said "He will not play basketball this spring." Emphasis on "this spring."



Benjamin Jones 1 year, 4 months ago

Zach, you represented KU proudly during your brief time here. Always remember that you have a home in Lawrence.


bennybob 1 year, 4 months ago

This will hurt the julius randle recruitment


Jason Keller 1 year, 4 months ago

I can't imagine being given the talent to be recruited by KU and have to leave it all behind because of something like this. It must hurt but I have a feeling Zach is going to be just fine. He is a tall good-looking kid who is well known, he has a good life ahead of him.


ahpersecoachingexperience 1 year, 4 months ago

Open mouth...insert foot! Apologies to ZP for implying female troubles were to blame.


Micky Baker 1 year, 4 months ago


Best of luck on a full recovery, and I hope you return to KU to finish your studies at least, and I really hope you get to pursue your basketball dreams.


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