10/04/06 8:39 PM ET
MLB must take look at head injuries
Post-concussion syndrome not exclusive to NFL, NHL
That Edmonds is back in the lineup at this point is a minor miracle, but that's the Catch 22 of post-concussion syndrome. It all depends on each individual's reaction and how many concussions he or she has previously suffered.There are differences of opinion among physicians about the long-term affect of concussions and repeated blows to the head. But one matter they all came to agreement on during the late 1990s: The more concussions a person suffers, the longer it takes to shake the next one off. "As you watch them get post-concussion syndrome, they seem to get more susceptible to the injury," Pellman said. Aikman and Young suffered multiple concussions before ending their respective careers. LaFontaine sat out a year and came back to play for the New York Rangers. When he eventually banged his head again in a mid-ice collision, his career was over. Matheny was struck by a foul tip in May and was dumb-struck when he returned to the dugout bench. Giants trainer Stan Conte asked him a series of questions and when he realized Matheny was out on his feet, he pulled him from the game. Matheny hasn't played since and before he was let go on Monday, former Giants manager Felipe Alou said there was a question whether Matheny would play again. Conte, when asked about it not long after the incident, said the Giants didn't do baseline or any other neurological tests on their players, although that will probably change. He said he'd been offered such a program from Pellman and his staff during the last offseason, but he turned it down because concussions are not considered a major problem in baseball. Not a problem? Just ask Koskie, who was baffled by the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome. The inability to focus. The quick level of fatigue. The loss of memory. Koskie said it was difficult to sit on the bench during a baseball game or play with his kids. "They get frustrated with me," Koskie said late in August. "They say, 'Dad, let's do something,' and I can't do it. I have to sit down after a while." Edmonds said there was never any doubt about him playing in the series, but he needs to be cautious about his future. Once the series of concussions and ensuing malaise gets started, it is a seemingly unbroken chain. And even the doctors can't tell you how it's going to end. "There are theoretical considerations," Pellman said. "If you continue to play and you keep getting concussions, maybe you can have brain damage later on. But no one has been able to prove that." The injury, the aftermath, that theory already has been enough to give at least two major professional sports leagues pause. Baseball should be next.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.