Blog Entry

A Common Denominator

Posted on: June 10, 2011 2:05 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:00 pm
 

What do David Wright, JasonBay, Ryan Church and Justin Morneau all have in common?  All suffered concussions in recent years and all have experienced a drop in performance. 

Church was the first of the four when he slide into the knee of the second baseman on May 20<sup>th</sup> 2008, he PH in a game two days later and then flew with the team to face the Rockies. At that time he was hitting .315 (.383 OBP) with 9 HRs and 32 RBIs in 162 ABs.  He had also struck out 39 times.  Church went on the DL June 5<sup>th</sup>, was activated on June 29<sup>th</sup>, returned to the DL July 6<sup>th</sup>, and returned on Aug. 22<sup>nd</sup>.  Through the end of the 2008 season he hit .219 (.305 OBP) with 2 HRs and 13 RBIs.  The 114 ABs resulted in 33 strikeouts.  Thru 2009-2010 Church never regained his HR ability and the K/AB remained higher than pre-concussion.

David Wright was hit by a pitch on Aug 15<sup>th</sup> 2009.  At the time he was hitting .324 (.414) with 8 HRs and 55 RBIs.  In the 426 ABs to that point in had struckout 105 times.  He returned from the DL on Sept. 1<sup>st</sup> and hit .239 (.289) with 2 HRs and 17 RBIs in the final month.  He K’d 35 times in 109 ABs.  Obviously Wright is not the same player he was in 2008, it is reasonable to point to the impact of Citifield and the aftermath of the concussion.

Both Justin Morneau and JasonBay sustained their concussions last July, Morneau early in the month in a play similar to Ryan Church when he was hit in the head by the fielder’s knee.  At the time of the season ending injury the 2006 MVP was hitting .345 with a .437 OBP; he had 18 HRs and 56 RBIs in 296 ABs.  Today he is hitting .225; the OBP is .281 with 4 HRs and 21 RBIs in 213 ABs. 

Two weeks later Bay ran into the gate at Dodger Stadium while taking an extra base hit away, this occurred in the 2<sup>nd</sup> inning but Bay completed the game.  His injury was also season ending and came at a time he was hitting .262 (.347) with 6 HRs and 47 RBIs.  While Bay was underperforming he had not raised a red flag among the Mets fans who had a full plate with the Castillo and Perez issues, the early success by the Mets and then the disastrous west coast trip following the AS break.  Mike Pelfrey’s 9-1 start followed by his July slump and of course the continued fans focus on the GM and Manager.  I believe that it was also thought that Bay was just starting slow and would eventually snap out of it.  He hasn’t hitting .207 (307) with just 2 HRs and 10 RBIs and a higher incident of strikeouts.

It would seem that sports medicine and neurological testing are still in the infancy of understanding the impact of concussions, the evidence is there from the incident of Alzheimer’s in football players, the diminished speech function of Muhammad Ali to the instituting a mandatory 7 day DL by  MLB for a player having a concussion.  Athletes in a wide spectrum of venues are all at risk.
  Maybe with Wright and Bay we have been looking in the wrong places for an answer to fix their problems, maybe the answer is… you can’t fix it.

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