Would a football coach press a trainer to clear an injured player to return to the field too soon?

It’s a story as old as football, particularly in the high-dollar days.


And now the allegation has been made against former Razorback coach Bobby Petrino by a former trainer at his new job at Western Kentucky.

Here’s a rundown in the Courier-Journal in Lousiville. It summarizes an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education that reports on a survey of trainers that showed a majority had felt pressure to return a student to play football faster than they thought was in a player’s best interests medically. Among them was former WKU trainer associate athletic trainer Danny Cobble.


According to the publication’s website, chronicle.com, Petrino and Cobble frequently clashed in the few months they both worked at WKU. Petrino was hired in December. Cobble, who had been with WKU since July of 2009, says he was fired in the spring.

In the story, Cobble said Petrino questioned his medical abilities, was impatient with return-to-play times, and pushed back on physicians’ decisions.

Cobble recounted one incident where surgery was recommended for a player who Petrino thought should be treated with cortisone. The player had surgery. Cobble was fired after meeting with higher-ups, including Athletic Director Todd Stewart. Neither Stewart nor Petrino would comment on the story.

Cobble told The Chronicle that he wished Stewart had stood up for him.

“He had a choice, and truthfully, I think he went with the million-dollar deal instead of what’s right,” Cobble said in the story.