As we also reported back in October Major League Baseball has instituted a concussion specific disabled list. Previously the shortest stint was a 15 day version, putting the teams in limbo with players that had a concussion. As we have seen with research a vast majority of those concussed recover in a 7-10 day time frame, this would have precluded teams in MLB from putting a player on the DL. Essentially playing a man-down until the player recovered, or it was determined that the resolution of the injury would be longer than 15 days.
The new DL and guidelines is definitely a good thing for awareness, and it should allow more teams to be transparent with the concussion episode.
“The one thing you don’t want to do is put someone in position the day after or two days later all of a sudden by saying, ‘Are you feeling OK?”’ Morneau said. “The worst thing you can do with a concussion is rush back to play. You’re diagnosed and you have a week and if it clears up like most people hope it does and they usually do, with most people it’s short-term, that’s the best-case scenario.”
In my opinion this will now allow all concussions to immediately addressed in MLB, and taking pressure off the player, manager, and medical staff’s. Along with the designation of a specialist for each team that is responsible for evaluation and coordination with the league for return to play, this will lead to better “numbers” and grasp of the problem.
Neurocognitive testing was also addressed with this new set of rules;
The joint statement from MLB and the union establishes mandatory baseline testing for all players and umpires and new steps for evaluating players who may have suffered the injury and for having them return to action.
Although in this particular article it does not specifically state what the baseline test is, my sources told me on condition of anonymity that the ImPACT computerized testing system is to be used. This is not new to many clubs, but neurocognitive testing has become a hot topic among those in the research world, mainly due to its reliability concerns. Regardless the testing is another tool in the toolbox for those assessing concussions, but it should not be used in lieu of other tools available, like the SCAT2 or more importantly daily evaluation by the athletic trainer or concussion specialist of each team. All of the tools available should be used to determine the proper return to play.
Is this the best system? For baseball, it might as well could be, we will have to find out. One thing is for sure, MLB is actually taking a proactive step in the area of concussions.