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Justin Morneau visits doctor, but still not cleared for game action eight months after concussion

Mar 2, 2011, 9:47 AM EDT

John McDonald; Justin Morneau

After being examined by a doctor yesterday Justin Morneau was not cleared for game action despite suffering a concussion eight months ago.

Morneau and the Twins continue to talk about the progress he’s made recently and from a quality of life standpoint it truly sounds like he’s significantly improved, but eight months after the concussion and with just one month until Opening Day the fact that he still can’t rejoin the lineup is very troubling.

Here’s what Morneau told Phil Mackey of about his trip to the doctor:

No game action, no activity where I could be in danger. There’s still a risk of injury. We said we were going to come down to spring training, see how it goes. Still progressing, everything is still going good. We’re going to continue what we’re doing. When we’re cleared for games, you’ll see me in the lineup. Until I’m cleared for games, there’s no timetable, no nothing. Test results, everything is still improving. I’m not all the way there yet, but it’s a lot closer than it was.

We’ll just see how things are going. If I feel like things are getting through every day symptom-free without any headaches, without any fogginess, without anything, when we have that more than one or two days in a row or whatever it is, we’ll go and hopefully get cleared. When that is, I can’t tell you. I don’t know. I have no idea.

In other words, he’s still not totally symptom-free from a brain injury suffered on July 7, which is awfully scary.

Morneau has been taking batting practice and fielding ground balls for the past week–albeit while wearing a helmet and sunglasses–but at this point there’s obviously no guarantee that he’ll be ready to play in just four weeks when more than 30 weeks of rest hasn’t been enough for doctors to clear him.

  1. uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    This is very, very scary. Nearly 8 months since suffering the concussion and not symptom free. You hate to say it or even think it but I’m wondering if he shouldn’t be thinking retirement. Even the slightest head injury should he come back could be disastrous. I posted before that no job is worth a persons long term health especially a young man yet to turn 30 years old.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:20 AM

      This certainly does not bode well for his career and I’d be highly surprised if those type of thoughts haven’t crossed his mind over the last month or two. Sad stuff, I think.

      • uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:31 AM

        Absolutely sad.

    • spartyfi - Mar 2, 2011 at 2:25 PM

      to uyf1950…what’s so sad about it? He has to find a job where he gets paid less money? I mean yeah, that sucks but I’m pretty sure there are lots of people out there willing to hire him for more money than most make so this isn’t “sad” at all. Sad is a person with 3 kids that’s been at their job for 20 years and get’s laid off…that my friend is sad.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 2, 2011 at 2:26 PM

        It’s sad because he has enormous talent and he may never fully utilize it again. It’s not about money, it’s about wasted talent and an inability to do what you love.

      • spartyfi - Mar 2, 2011 at 2:42 PM

        whenmattstairs…Yeah, again, that’s not really sad at all. I mean really? Let me ask you this, what value does he add to this world by being able to play baseball vs. not playing baseball? None other than entertainment my friend and losing one more entertainer is not sad (unless it’s a loss caused by death).

        Charity? Possibly but I’m sure he would still be able to raise money for charities so again, not really all that sad.

        I guess you miss my point though, based on all the issues out there and REAL problems that people have, to consider this sad is pretty pathetic!

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 2, 2011 at 2:43 PM

        Morneau’s condition doesn’t make anything less serious in the world. We don’t have a human limit on how many regrettable things we can feel, or how much sympathy we can give. Whether he’s a humanitarian or not is also besides the point. It’s a shame he’s having to go through this, simple as that.

      • spartyfi - Mar 2, 2011 at 2:51 PM

        well “whenmatt..” you and I will have to disagree. I don’t find it sad at all. The guy’s made millions playing a kids game, I have a lot of trouble finding any sadness in that. Only a vaj would find this to be “sad”.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 2, 2011 at 2:53 PM


      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 2, 2011 at 3:18 PM

        Whoa, chill hombres! (Vag is spelled with a “g” by the way and it’s not warranted.) I say sad in the baseball sense. Of course the world has sadder issues. Is that even an argument? It SUCKS that Morneau can’t play and it makes me SAD as a baseball fan. As a human, there’s more important things to worry about than a ‘kids game’ but who the hell wants to think about those things when there’s BASEBALL!!!!!!! wooooo!

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 2, 2011 at 4:20 PM

      I’m good, El Bravo!

      • cur68 - Mar 2, 2011 at 4:34 PM

        When Matt Stairs Is King; another beaver-loving Canadian boy (from New Brunswick, no less! NOTHING comes out of NB except cod and cold. He’s a hero of mine). When he comes to power, there will be a beaver in every house. Free beavers for all. And there will be much rejoicing…

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 2, 2011 at 5:44 PM


  2. umrguy42 - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:32 AM

    I’ve asked before, and nobody’s answered… Can anybody explain why in baseball, hockey, and soccer, concussions seem to drag on and on and on… whereas in football, you don’t seem to see nearly that extent. I’m trying to see if there’s something beyond “football players just come back too soon”, to be honest…

    • uyf1950 - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      I have no clue other then to think it’s a combination of 2 things. One you hit upon. They come back to soon. Second the helmets the football players wear are probably much better suited to protect the head then whatever the other professional players wear.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 2, 2011 at 10:54 AM

        Of course, at the same time, football players have acknowledged that the new ‘Cadillac’ helmets make them feel a sense of invincibility and thus lead with their head more so then ever before. They’ve also been taught to lead with their head when tackling for the last couple decades.

        I really do think that football players are just pressured (implicitly) more to get back in the game than in baseball. This is likely due to the number of games and the related impact of a single loss in football vs. baseball. There’s probably pages that can be written on all the variable that go into the differences between the two sports and how they handle injuries.

    • Lukehart80 - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      I think that football helmets are sure to do more protect, but those players take a LOT more hits to the head too. Seeing something like this sad news about Morneau helps frame just how serious the problem of concussions can be and how overlooked it has certainly been until very recently in the NFL. It is both sad and also scary, particularly in light of the recent tragedy involving Dave Duerson.

    • JBerardi - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM

      The unspoken expectation of players in the NFL is that they hide concussions to stay on the field. That’s all there is to it.

    • dluxxx - Mar 2, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      The difference is that football uses more gross motor skills – which seem to come back quicker – and baseball has more fine motor skills involved. You can go out and tackle somebody or catch a football with concussion symptoms (albiet not quite as well) but try hitting a 90+ mph fastball with a little foggyness and/or slowed fine motor skills. Not gonna be too easy.

    • BC - Mar 2, 2011 at 4:19 PM

      My theory is that many football players get so many “minor concussions” that they don’t even realize it – they feel normal when mildly concussed. It’s only the major ones that knock guys out (pardon the pun) for a stretch of games.
      That’s what happened to Merrill Hoge. He had a couple big concussions, but he thinks he had countless minor ones that he just played through. The NFL didn’t focus on the issue or have the testing procedures and technology in the 80’s that they have now. So if Hoge was walking around in a semi-concussed state all the time, it probably felt normal to him.

  3. sknut - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I think its because football has been slow to adapt and the other sports haven’t been. Pierre Marc Bouchard of the WIld missed almost 2 full years has come back this year and hasn’t had an issue. There really is no timeline and that is frustrating for all involved but its just the fact.

  4. BC - Mar 2, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Wow. The hit was bad, but I’ve seen much worse hits that have had guys come back much sooner. Goes to show how unpredictable these things are and how they vary wildly from person to person. Hope the guy makes it back at some point, and if not, packs it in. Not that Merrill Hoge is my favorite football analyst, but I hear stories about him having to re-learn how to read and…. yow. Can’t mess around with this.

  5. cur68 - Mar 2, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    There was an excellent article on concussion in the NHL and the Crosby hit ( That work applies here. The trouble with the damage is that its HIGHLY individual, the impacts are themselves novel (there’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ hit, be it location, force, what you were hit with, etc), and the equipment may vary from person to person even in a the same sport. This is what’s bothering me with Becket taking a ball to the conk right behind the ear. That’s much the same place Morneau was hit and he was wearing a helmet. The NFL is seriously lagging when it comes to dealing with concussion but they have the most to lose as that sport lives on hits to the head so I can see why (from a business standpoint, that is. I’ve been nailed in these posts for putting humanitarian causes ahead of sports. Not gonna do THAT again. Ok I’m kidding, I am, but lets pretend I’m not going to in this post, kay?). I really feel for Morneau; he’s a fellow beaver loving Canadian boy and I want to see him back sooner rather than later. I too find his lingering concussion effects distressing, to say the least.

  6. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Mar 2, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    I just hope he doesn’t turn into a Corey Koskie. Props to the Twins for being so excellently careful with Morneau as well.

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