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Brian Roberts not close to returning to Orioles three months after concussion

Aug 17, 2011, 5:01 PM EDT

Brian Roberts AP

Brian Roberts hasn’t played since a head-first slide into first base on May 16 left him with a concussion and even after three months on the sidelines his chances of returning this season remain unclear.

Roberts spoke yesterday to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, discussing his frustration with the injury, his desire to return and remain a big part of the Orioles’ plans, and the reaction he’s had to fan backlash regarding his extended absence.

I certainly want people to understand through the whole process that there’s nobody more frustrated than I am, there’s nobody that loves playing the game of baseball still more than I do. I know it’s been disappointing for our fans, for our players, for our organization, not only the season but my circumstance.

Unfortunately you cannot always control the perception that’s out there. All you can do is know that you are doing everything that you can. So for me, in this instance I’m doing everything I can to get back on the baseball field. If the perception out there, if there is one, that I’m not, or for some unknown reason people have feelings that I don’t want to play baseball, I’m sure that’s very hard and hurtful for someone who has as much pride as I feel like I do.

Justin Morneau went through a similar situation in Minnesota last season, as his missing the entire second half of the season led to criticism from a segment of the fan base that refused to understand the delicate and unpredictable nature of concussions. In addition to Roberts and Morneau, other players to miss months following concussions include Jason Bay last season and Morneau’s teammate, Denard Span, this year.

Span returned last week following a two-month absence, played horribly, and then revealed that he’s still dealing with post-concussion symptoms. In other words, the notion that Roberts is somehow extending his absence by not being tough enough or working hard enough to get back in the Orioles’ lineup is absurd.

It has nothing to do with hard work or how much a player wants to return. Brain injuries are a hell of a lot more complicated than any of that. Three months after his concussion Roberts continues to experience headaches, to the point that he had to cancel a recent charity fundraiser, and still hasn’t been cleared for full workouts.

  1. IdahoMariner - Aug 17, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I wonder how many players who just “fell off a cliff” in the past had similar injuries in the months prior to dramatic declines in productivity. Because the nature of brain injuries like these seems to be that you can feel “fine” enough to get back out there, without ever really recovering.

    • fuggles7 - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:29 AM

      Corey Koskie comes to mind…

  2. IdahoMariner - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    …and back in the day, players were dicouraged from complaining about such things, especially if they might be ridiculed for being soft or weak, or for it being “all in your head.” Which it was, of course, just not in the way that people mean when they say that.

  3. bleedgreen - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    How are people like this guy, Morneau, and even Sid Crosby get a concussion and are out for MONTHS, but NFL players seemingly get concussions and are SOMETIMES held out 2 weeks, usually 1 but only because thats mandatory. And NFL players take headshot multiple times a game?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:38 PM

      Thicker skulls?

    • sknut - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM

      I think the MLB and the NHL has taken a more proactive approach then the NFL. The other issue is that unlike the NFL, the players in question seem to understand the bigger picture and are more cautious with their recovery. NFL players seem to think short term and not worry about 15 years from now.

      • randomdigits - Aug 17, 2011 at 8:39 PM

        Lack of guaranteed contracts can do that to a player.

    • atworkident - Aug 18, 2011 at 10:23 AM

      …then the NFL player dies before he’s 40. You forgot to mention that part.

  4. randomdigits - Aug 17, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    A large portion of the frustrated fanbase is frustrated because of the nature of Roberts’ concussions. Last season he concussed himself with a bat and this spring it was a headfirst slide into first. Pretty avoidable injuries in both cases.

  5. Charles Gates - Aug 17, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    Here, I give the thumbs up to Aaron for the article.

  6. 24missed - Aug 17, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    As someone who has had multiple concussions, I can personally say the long-term effects have compromised my life significantly.

    A medical center, has recently opened up, specifically designed for treating concussions.

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