Spartans QB Brian Lewerke checked for concussion, school says

With a little more than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter against Illinois on Saturday, Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke took a hit to the head from Fighting Illini linebacker Dele Harding's knee.

Lewerke stayed down for a moment while a teammate motioned for the training staff to come on the field. Lewerke got up, remained in the game and ran the next play -- an interception returned for a touchdown. After the turnover, Lewerke chased the defender who caught his pass and was hit by a blocker and knocked to the ground.

"My head was ringing for a little bit, but it was nothing serious I don't think," Lewerke told reporters after the game. "It was a tough hit and definitely rung my bell for a little bit. I think I was fine."

On Tuesday, Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio told reporters that the coaches did not go through any protocol to check if Lewerke had any symptoms of a concussion.

"Just I asked him and he said he's good, and he motioned that to our trainers, as well, so he just went on with it," Dantonio said.

Dantonio went on to say that Lewerke wasn't put through a concussion protocol after the game, either.

That statement contradicts what was later released by Anthony M. Avellino, the assistant provost for student health, wellness and safety and the interim director of athletic medicine, who said the safety of the student-athletes at Michigan State University is its No. 1 priority.

"Decisions on whether a player returns to competition after potentially suffering an injury are made by our medical staff, which does not report to our coaching staff or through the Athletics Department," Avellino said in the statement.

Additionally, Avellino said in Tuesday's statement that Lewerke was assessed in the game and the following day to ensure his safety, and both times he was determined not to have a concussion.

"Upon returning to the sideline late in the fourth quarter with under five minutes remaining in the game, Brian Lewerke was given a symptom assessment by our medical staff," the statement said. "After not showing signs of concussion, he was cleared to play."