As part of the COVD hashtag party I blogged about baseball and brain injuries. That particular piece involved a budding amateur athlete, but the old school ignorance that pervades baseball extends to the professional level as well. The saga of Jesse Biddle is of particular interest because he sustained his traumatic brain injury not while engaged in his chosen profession of pitching, but from getting beaned in a vicious hail storm. This is the incredible photo that the aspiring pitcher tweeted last May, showing the damage done to his car, which also pelted his brain.
Brad Engler had some harsh things to say last week at Crasburn Alley about the Phillies brass, and it’s well worth your time to read. This was followed up by some stinging but insightful comments by Liz Roscher on The Good Phight. So here’s the bottom line. The Phillies were woefully old school regarding Biddle’s concussion, apparently sending him to a lower level of the minor leagues because they felt he was having “mental problems” totally unrelated to anything physical, attributable solely to performance anxiety. When it comes to brain injury, the physical and mental are very much intertwined, and it’s not too late for the Phillies to get it right.
Biddle seems like a special kid (read this piece about him, for example) and he deserves an enlightened approach by his team toward brain injury. An article in yesterday’s New York Times underscores some of the tension in a sport that is in as much denial about brain injury as was professional football several years ago. One can surmise that as parents steer their young children away from brain contact sports such as football, they will gravitate toward team sports perceived to be safer, such as baseball. This places even more onus on the sport to get it right regarding concussions and function.
#concussions #braininjury #baseball