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Justin Morneau’s recovery from post-concussion syndrome remains an exercise in patience

Dec 31, 2011, 1:19 PM EDT

John McDonald; Justin Morneau

The good news? Justin Morneau feels like he is making progress from post-concussion symptoms that have limited him to just 150 games over the past two seasons combined. However, his recovery remains an exercise in patience.

In this interview with MLB Network, linked by Charlie Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Morneau describes how frustrating the ordeal can be.

“Most days, I wake up I feel pretty good. Usually after I get done – I really exert myself, really working out hard – after a long day, your brain gets tired and everything gets so worn down. It’s not functioning the way it’s supposed to be, and you kind of get done with the day and you go, ‘Something’s not right.’ And you end up going home and taking a nap for a couple hours or whatever it is, and you wake up and the headache’s still there and you kind of grind through it. But it’s been a lot better lately.”

Morneau is currently participating in different balance drills and exercises in an effort to essentially “reset the brain.” The 30-year-old is also working his way back from procedures on his left knee, left wrist and right foot, but feels “way ahead” of where he was this time last year and hopes to be ready for the start of spring training. The 2006 American League MVP is owed $14 million in each of the next two seasons.

  1. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Good luck to Morneau, post concussion symptoms can be scary. [Sorry for the long copy/paste] Here’s a description of one event from ex-NO Saint Kyle Turley:
    One month, he had vertigo every day, bouts in which he felt as if he were stuck to a wall. But this was worse. He asked his wife if he could sit on her stool for a moment. The warmup band was still playing, and he remembers saying, “I’m just going to take a nap right here until the next band comes on.” Then he was lying on the floor, and someone was standing over him. “The guy was freaking out,” Turley recalled. “He was saying, ‘Damn, man, I couldn’t find a pulse,’ and my wife said, ‘No, no. You were breathing.’ I’m, like, ‘What? What?’ ”

    They picked him up. “We went out in the parking lot, and I just lost it,” Turley went on. “I started puking everywhere. I couldn’t stop. I got in the car, still puking. My wife, she was really scared, because I had never passed out like that before, and I started becoming really paranoid. I went into a panic. We get to the emergency room. I started to lose control. My limbs were shaking, and I couldn’t speak. I was conscious, but I couldn’t speak the words I wanted to say.”

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/10/19/091019fa_fact_gladwell

  2. 1wildfan1 - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    For the good of the franchise, Morneau needs to retire or the Twins need to cut him. He is too fragile, and not worth 1/10 of his salary.

    • hammyofdoom - Dec 31, 2011 at 5:37 PM

      It’s not so much that he’s “fragile” its that he had a concussion and they are incredibly hard to get over, has nothing to do with how fragile or not he is. And while what you said may or may not be true, this post is about his difficulty going back to not only baseball life but day to day life, and it’s really not the time or place to mention it.

      • randygnyc - Jan 1, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        I’m afraid justin’s career may be over. He may cling on to the twins for the next year or so. I’m sure he’d like to get paid. His eventual departure is essential for Mauer to make the permanent move to first base. He’ll need to move for the twins to get fair value on his contract.

    • Cris E - Jan 3, 2012 at 6:10 PM

      Um, MLB contracts are guaranteed. He’s getting paid no matter what he’s worth.

      And while he’s definitely having more trouble coming back than the average bear, it’s becoming clear that in the past we might have been short-changing concussion injury recoveries, and many cases are going to take longer to return to play going forward. The MLBPA and MLB have added special rules for handling concussion cases (including a 7 day DL), the NHL has changed rules regarding blows to the head and the NFL has trainers in the booth watching the games (and lawyers in the courtroom fending off lawsuits.) Deaths of players like Boogaard and Duerson, recurring injuries like Morneau and Span and Sidney Crosby and a host of others are redefining fragile. Get over yourself and get used to this. It’s the new present.

  3. Chris K - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    As a Canadian living in a major city, I can’t think of a single reason to let my kid play hockey. Little money, lots of injuries, and nobody except the small town kids make it. Morneau’s kiddie concussions are catching up to him

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