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Major League Baseball Takes Important Steps in Concussion Management

In a USA Today article scheduled to appear tomorrow,  it is reported that major League Baseball and the Players Association announced a series of protocols today regarding a new concussion management policy that will take effect on Thursday's opening day.

The policy has several excellent components including a player who has sustained a concussion on a mandatory seven day disabled list; mandatory baseline testing of all players and umpires; and uniform protocols for determining when a player can return to play.

Now, that the league is taking concussions seriously, I am hopeful that this new attitude will filter down to the teams and players who must implement the policy changes

Here is the full new concussion policy of major league baseball:

1. Mandatory baseline neuropsychological testing requirements for players and umpires during Spring Training, or when a player joins a club during the season, formalizing a process that most individual Clubs follow;

2. Protocols for evaluating players and umpires for a possible concussion, including during incidents typically associated with a high risk, such as being hit in the head a by a pitched, batted or thrown ball or by a bat; being in a collision with a player, umpire or fixed object; or any time when the head or neck of a player or an umpire is forcibly rotated;

3. The establishment of a seven-day disabled list for concussions, which will aim to allow concussions to clear, prevent players from returning prematurely and give clubs a full complement of players in one's absence; any player on the seven-day DL for more than 14 days will automatically and retroactively be transferred to the 15-day DL, effective with the first day of the initial placement, and with the prior 14 days applying to the initial 15-day maximum term; implemented on a trial basis for the 2011 season;

4. Protocols for clearing a concussed player or umpire to return to activity; prior to the time that a concussed player is permitted to play in any game (including Major League, Minor League or extended Spring Training games), the Club must submit a "Return to Play" form to MLB's Medical Director; submission of the form is required irrespective of whether the player was placed on the disabled list.

 

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