One of the best things to come out of the 2 years of NFL concussion litigation is the increased awareness about sports concussions, symptoms, neurological science and concussion treatment. For everyone but apparently some team medical staffs and coaches. Some of them clearly still do not have a clue. Second baseman Alexi Casillas of the Baltimore Orioles suffered an obvious concussion during the 7th inning of Monday night’s baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Well, obvious to everyone except the Orioles medical staff and manager Buck Showalter. Casilla did not seem to be unconscious that long before the trainers were able to evaluate him on the field, not diagnose a concussion and dangerously allow him to continue playing. Not surprisingly, after the close game was over, Casillas was rushed to a Tampa area hospital because of concussion symptoms.
The 2 well-regarded athletic trainers who misdiagnosed Casillas have been with the Orioles for 29 and 35 years. What can be done so that professional medical staff like Brian Ebel and Richard Bancells are provided the skill or ability or freedom to diagnose concussions as easily as fans sitting at home who have the advantage of watching slo-mo replays of players slamming their heads to the ground, then staring vacuously up at space, then rolling over and going to sleep. Fans are also at no risk of losing their awesome job for calling a duck a duck. Does medical staff need the advantage of watching slo-mo replay? Or do they continue to be fooled by the player’s insistence that “estoy bien”? Does the Brian Urlacher limp off the field trick still work on the medical staff? (Rays broadcasters acknowledged that Casilla kept looking at his wrist as he meandered back to 2nd base from the outfield) Would it help if their boss wasn’t standing there looking over their shoulders?
At this point, it just doesn’t seem possible that players can continue to be left in a game after clearly suffering a brain injury. Unfortunately, as it gets easier for fans to spot concussions from 1500 miles away, it’s still a complicated, challenging process for the medical staff who is standing 3 feet away.
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