If it was up to George Mason senior guard John Vaughan, he will play in Saturday’s game at Virginia Commonwealth. Of course, after his concussion on Wednesday night, Vaughan may not be thinking straight.
Vaughan returned to George Mason on Thursday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. then immediately left with his mother and athletic trainer Debi Corbatto to visit a doctor for further evaluation.
“Hopefully, I’ll see a neurologist, get re-evaluated, and we’ll take it from there,” Vaughan said.
Asked if he’d be serving as an assistant coach at the VCU game on Saturday, Vaughan said: “Hopefully, I’ll be doing a little bit of playing.”
Vaughan took a blow to the head going for a rebound late in Wednesday's game at Northeastern. He fell to the court, clutching his face, but then got to his feet and went down the court. After Nkem Ojougboh made his first free throw, Vaughn crumpled to the floor.
Teammate Dre Smith guessed right away that Vaughan had a concussion. Having played football, Smith was familiar with the injury.
“I seen that plenty of times when guys get hit,” Smith said. “I looked in his eyes. His eyes were trying to focus and everything. They were moving really fast. That’s how I knew.”
Vaughan wanted to get up right away, but Smith wouldn’t let him. He put his hand on his chest to hold him down.
“He never completely blacked out, lost consciousness,” Smith said.
“I’m glad that Dre did that,” Vaughan said. “It was a little worse than I thought. My competitive edge wanted to get back up. It was a close game. It was a big game for us on the road, and I just wanted to be out there with my teammates.”
Vaughan lay on the court for nearly 20 minutes while medical staff worked on him.
“It seemed like I was down there forever because it felt like I was laying on ice, playing a game in a hockey arena,” Vaughan said.
As time passed, his teammates grew more and more concerned. Most of them had no idea what Vaughan’s injury was.
“A couple players and coaches on the bench were praying,” Cam Long said. “Most of our focus was on the court, just looking at him, making sure he was all right.”
“At one point, I became [scared] because of how long he was down there, how long it was taking,” Smith said. “Anytime you see somebody down there and it goes on longer and longer, it’s just something. At that point, I was praying that he didn’t have any serious injury that he couldn’t overcome.”
Vaughan was put into a neck brace then lifted onto a gurney and taken from the arena by ambulance to a nearby Boston hospital. Corbatto went with him in the ambulance. Coach Jim Larranaga and assistant coach Eric Konkol were driven to the hospital by Boston police after the game ended. Northeastern Coach Bill Coen and several Northeastern staff members also dropped by the hospital to check on Vaughan. After his CT scan came back clear, he was released to go back to the hotel where he woke up his roommate Smith.
“I was staying up talking with him, joking about the situation,” Smith said.
Vaughan appeared in good spirits Thursday afternoon and eager to get back on the court.
“I’m feeling better,” he said. “The EMTs in Boston, they did a great job taking care of me. Miss Debi did a great job of keeping me stable and talking to me the whole time. I’m just blessed to be here right now. I got a lot of support from our coaching staff, Northeastern’s coaching staff, a lot of people in the George Mason community, lot of my friends. I just want everybody to know that I really appreciate it, and I’m doing fine.”
January 22, 2009; 5:43 PM ET
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