During last night’s game against the Phillies, New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner crashed into the wall making a terrific catch. He fell to the ground, clearly stunned, then got to his feet, shaking his head like a cartoon character after being conked on the noggin.
Baseball’s concussion protocol requires that a game be stopped and a player evaluated on the field by a trainer if there is an episode that carries a substantial risk of concussion. If the trainer detects any signs of a concussion, the player must be removed and examined further. None of this happened after Gardner’s collision with the wall. He finished the game, going hitless.
Asked about his head later, Gardner said that he felt good. But the protocol isn’t up to the player, nor should it be. Players often refuse to acknowledge injuries, and Gardner is the perfect example of the kind of player who won’t. He is famously tough, and he is also a veteran on a Yankee team with several hungry young outfielders who would love to take his job. It was a Yankee first baseman, after all, who took a rest for one game and lost his job to Lou Gehrig, permanently. Nobody wants to be the next Wally Pipp.
Manager Aaron Boone humina-humina-ed that Gardner had not been examined immediately because “We just felt comfortable seeing it, seeing the replay, seeing his reaction that he was O.K.” Asked if Gardner shaking his head after the collision was not enough of a warning sign, Boone said: “I think we felt good about where he was, his mental state.”
Boone was asked how could such an assessment be made 400 feet away, from the dugout, without the required examination. “Well, kind of non-verbal communication and knowing the person a little bit. We take anything with the head very serious, but we also felt like he’s fine.”
Source: New York Times