Didi Gregorius Versus The 93-mph Fastball

by David Culver | Posted on Thursday, May 2nd, 2013
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Didi Gregorious

On April 30th, Didi Gregorius was cleared to resume baseball activities, after being hit in the head with a 93-mph fastball during the Arizona Diamondbacks game against the Colorado Rockies on April 26th.

In both the National Football League, and Major League Baseball, concussions have become a concern of late. Baseball of late, has been more focused on the safety of pitchers, who after throwing a 90-mph ball, and having it shoot straight back at them with only a cloth hat for protection.

The Diamondback’s own Brandon McCarthy was victim to this when he played for the Oakland A’s last season.

How dangerous are concussions?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “A concussion is a  traumatic brain injury that alters the way your brain functions. Effects are usually temporary…But every concussion injures your brain to some extent.”

Gregorious was watched over the last four days to ensure that he was not suffering from lingering effects after being hit. The tests include memory, question and answers, as well as other medical exams (such as a CT scan).

Why are players forced to stop baseball activities?

Again, according to the Mayo Clinic, concussions can develop complications such as, “Second impact syndrome. Sometimes, experiencing a second concussion before signs and symptoms of a first concussion have resolved may result in rapid and typically fatal brain swelling” (emphasis mine).

Baseball is often overlooked as being a “contact” sport, because the players are generally several feet away from each other. Unless two (or more) position players are heading for the same pop-fly, or a hitter is sliding into his base, there isn’t much “contact” in the sport.

But as many players learn, “contact” doesn’t have to be from another player. Sometimes its equipment, a bystander, or a solid object, like a wall.

Baseball has been lucky that there hasn’t been a death caused by a pitch since Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians was hit in the head by Carl Mays.

I think every player is at least somewhat aware that they are just an injury away from leaving the game.

For Didi, I think that awareness became a little more real.

I don’t think that the game needs to be changed because of Didi’s injuries. I’m glad that he’s okay, and I look forward to him bringing his bat and glove back to the Dback’s. But its a good reminder for us fans just how dangerous this sport can be.

Mayo Clinic sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/concussion/DS00320

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/concussion/DS00320/DSECTION=complications

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David Culver
About the Author

David Culver is an avid baseball fan married to a beautiful woman who puts up with his fandom. He received his degree in English from ASU. Follow David on Twitter @dfculver







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