Concussion problems end Aaron Mershman’s college football career (7-24-12)

Aaron Mershman (Photo
courtesy Ball State Athletics)

DETROIT — Aaron Mershman, a Bowling Green High School graduate, has had to end his college football
career due to concussion syndrome.
The decision was made at the end of spring football, Ball State head coach Pete Lembo said Tuesday as the
Mid-American Conference media day at Ford Field.
Mershman played both quarterback and tight end during his career at Ball State and would have been a
redshirt junior this season.
“We talked to Aaron, we talked to his parents, we talked to all parties involved and we felt like this
was the best direction to go,” Lembo said.
“Knowing him as well as I do, there is always going to be a little bit of a void because he loves the
game so much,” Lembo added. “We’ve tried very hard to help him through this process, this transition and
help him start to shift his focus to plans for the future. He’s going to have a lot of great
opportunities available to him.”
Lembo said Mershman practiced for one or two days, at the most, in the spring.
“We wanted to give it as much time as we could to see if the symptoms subsided,” Lembo said. “We don’t
want to take any risks with his safety and well-being.”
Lembo said Mershman would stay around the program for the coming season.
“I have very, very strong feelings about Aaron, first and foremost as a person,” Lembo said. “He is as
passionate and dedicated, he is as good of a leader, as good of a student, as good of a representative
of our program as anybody.
“And he is extremely well-respected by the players as well as by the coaching staff,” Lembo continued.
“This was definitely a blow back in April when we determined it was in his best interest not to continue
TWO AT UT: There are two players from Wood County high schools on Toledo’s team this season — senior
defensive end T.J. Fatinikun from Perrysburg High School; and redshirt freshman linebacker Derek Batt
from Bowling Green High School.
Fatinikun was limited to six games last season after suffering a season-ending elbow injury on Oct. 8
against Eastern Michigan.
“First and foremost we are happy to have him healthy,” UT head coach Matt Campbell said about Fatinikun
on Tuesday. Campbell, a former assistant coach at Bowling Green, is starting his first full season as
the Rockets’ head coach. “You have seen his experience and what he can do in this conference; he’s a
great football player.
“From a leadership standpoint and the standpoint of being a great competitor on and off the football
field, that experience back in the lineup has certainly helped us,” Campbell continued. “He had a great
spring for us and it looks like he has had a great summer.”
A two-time third-team All-MAC selection, Fatinikun has made 94 total tackles in his UT career, including
23 1/2 tackles for loss with 10 sacks.
“It’s hard to believe he’s a senior already,” Campbell said. “He’s a young man that has put a tremendous
career together and I think he has the opportunity to really cap things off with a great senior year.”

Batt is a walk-on at Toledo who was redshirted last season.
“I’m really proud of him,” Campbell said. “He’s not only doing a great job on the football field, but he
is tremendous in the classroom.”
Campbell said Batt brings great work ethic, attitude and effort to each practice.
“He’s going to have a chance to compete at linebacker and in some special teams areas,” Campbell said.

GONE: Wide receiver Michael Allen, a late junior college signee earlier this year; offensive lineman
Isaiah Byler; tight end Zach Steinmetz; and defensive back Dernard Turner, have all left the Bowling
Green program, BG head coach Dave Clawson said Tuesday.
Allen would have been a junior this season, Byler a redshirt sophomore, and Steinmetz and Turner would
have been redshirt freshmen.
TITLE GAME: The MAC announced a four-year contract extension with Ford Field to host the MAC championship
football game.
The agreement extends the agreement through the 2015 season.

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