Photo: Screengrab from FOX
MLB adopted a new policy to deal with concussions, including the creation of a seven-day disabled list for head injuries and new evaluation procedures after incidents.Take notes, NFL brass.
The policy was jointly accepted by by both MLB and the MLBPA, and it will go live on Opening Day tomorrow. It was put together by a committee of neurologists, trainers, medical directors, and physicians.
The changes come in the wake of a pair of serious concussions suffered by high profile players. Minnesota Twins star first baseman Justin Morneau and New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay both suffered concussions in July of last year and neither was able to return that season. In total, eight MLB players spent time on the DL because of concussions last year.
Here are the major changes:
- A new seven-day disabled list specifically for players suffering from concussions. Any player on this DL for more than 14 days will automatically be transferred to the 15-day DL. Players who suffer concussions are not required to be put on the DL.
- New procedures for evaluating players/umpires for possible concussions especially after incidents such as collisions or being hit in the head by a ball or bat.
- New procedures for clearing players/umpires after being diagnosed with a concussion. Teams are required to submit a “Return to Play” form to the league’s Medical Director before the player is allowed back on the field, even if the player was never placed on the DL.
- Mandatory neuropsychological testing will be required for players/umpires during Spring Training (or when a player joins a team during the season).
- Every team will be required to have a “mild traumatic brain injury specialist” located in its home city.
This policy is a major step for the protection of players in baseball, but there are more dire needs for additional protection in other sports. The NFL has a formal policy comparable to MLB’s new rules, including a return-to-play form and pre-season baseline testing, but football players require far more protection than that as they suffer hundreds of concussions every year.
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