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How ya feeling, Bryce Harper?

May 16, 2013, 8:53 AM EDT

Bryce Harper didn’t start last night’s game against the Dodgers. He did pinch hit, however, and grounded out for the penultimate out of the game.  After the game he was asked how he was feeling:

Feeling terrible two days after hitting a wall and then battling nausea? Nah, he doesn’t have a concussion. The seven-day DL is apparently for wimps.

  1. cur68 - May 16, 2013 at 8:59 AM

    Well, THIS is a bad idea. I’ve never dealt with a person with concussion (except myself) but all the reading suggests (and personal experience bears this out) that Harper has one. Just because initial tests are clear do NOT mean you are NOT concussed. Nausea and malaise in the days after the incident are key indicators of a concussion. He needs to be on the DL. WTF are they doing on that team?

    • heyblueyoustink - May 16, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Channeling their inner Expos.

    • ptfu - May 16, 2013 at 10:08 AM

      Forget the concussion DL, time to think about the 15-day DL. The kid’s bruised, battered, shaken up (which may or may not include a concussion), and feels terrible. Can he really help the Nats right now on the field? It’s in both the player’s and the team’s short and long term interests to rest him for a while.

      Oh, and by sending Bryce Harper to pinch hit last night, Davey Johnson blew any chance at backdating any future DL stint for Harper. So if the Nats do ultimately DL him, he’ll have to miss even more games down the road. I suppose they could keep playing short-handed for a week or two, but that’s a long time to lean on a short bench or bullpen.

      • natslady - May 16, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        On point, but I don’t think you put a guy on the 15-day DL for bumps and bruises. My question is, can you put him on the 7-day as a precaution, or do you have to demonstrate he has a concussion? Or at least, that he demonstrates symptoms of one? Or are the Nats stuck because he passed the tests, so they either have to put him on the 15-day DL or keep him on the active roster?

  2. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - May 16, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    I’m not well-versed in MLB’s concussion policies, since the issue doesn’t come up quite as much in baseball as it does in football and hockey. When a play like this happens, does the league step in at any point? Is there some sort of league-mandated testing the player has to undergo prior to taking the field again, or is it solely up to the team to do what’s best for its player?

    • goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      The league and the players association have strict rules in place in the assessment of any possible concussions:

      “Specific recommendations have been issued for on-field and sideline evaluation of players and umpires suspected of suffering a concussion. These protocols follow already established guidelines from the National Athletic Trainers Association. Additionally, the SCAT2 (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool, version 2) has been adopted as the sideline concussion assessment tool of choice.”

      Harper passed the SCAT2 test twice, once on Monday immediately following the incident and again on Tuesday. Everything reported by the media seems to indicate the team is following MLB policies to a T.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      My understanding is that there is a league mandated policy. Chase Utley got hit in the head with a pitch 2 years ago – it just grazed the helmut and he looked fine at first. But he stood in the batters box and seemed confused, even asking if he had been hit. As I recall, they said at the time that all MLB players have a “baseline” scan of their brain in spring training so that if they are potentially concussed during the season, they can compare. That was how they ultimately determined Utely had to be held out of the line up for what I recall was about a week.

      I honestly don’t understand why nothing like that is being done here – but perhaps it is and we just haven’t heard about it

      • goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        You’re right, there is a baseline test that is done at the beginning of the year for every player

        “All major league clubs are requiring baseline neurocognitive testing for all players and umpires using ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). The battery of tests, developed in the early 1990s by Drs. Mark Lovell and Joseph Maroon of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, evaluate things such as brain processing speed, memory and reaction time. Preseason testing can provide baseline data against which future postinjury tests can be measured. Even when a player reports the absence of symptoms and there are no observable signs, a neurocognitive test can show a deficit in information processing, indicating that the brain has not yet fully recovered. Halem said while MLB adopted ImPACT testing several years ago, the fact that the new policy calls for baseline testing to be conducted on all players and umpires during spring training or when a player joins a club during the season formalizes the practice.”

        Again, the casual fan is seeing things like Harper saying he felt nauseous, but completely ignore that he was immediately put through a battery of tests (and again in subsequent days) to confirm he was not concussed.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 9:33 AM

        Okay, so they are following protocol. But I still think they should rest him a few days. Understanding of concussions and the brain change all the time – he is feeling nausea, and it’s still May. A run of the mill collision on the base paths that otherwise would be nothing could concuss him right now.

      • goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:37 AM

        I don’t disagree with you at all about sitting him, I just take issue with people saying he ‘definitely’ has a concussion, when all the evidence points to the opposite conclusion.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 9:42 AM

        Not “all the evidence”

      • goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:44 AM

        Sorry, the vast preponderance of evidence.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 9:50 AM

        Not to belabor this – but if you are so certain he is fine, then why would you agree sitting him a few days would be wise?

      • goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        I think he is fine with respect to any concussion issues. But I acknowledge (as he has) that basically his entire body is bruised from the collision. Rather than have litany of bruises become a lingering problem, I’d rather they sit him a couple days, ice it away and have him back in much better shape.

  3. hcf95688 - May 16, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Hopefully he doesn’t end up with oatmeal for brains.

    • heyblueyoustink - May 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      He’s been there for a while, bro’.

  4. andreweac - May 16, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    With apologies to Mickey Hatcher “Brain cells are a false scouting stat.”

  5. rigatonikid - May 16, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    I can’t understand why Nationals management are not taking a more cautious approach with Harper. This is the same organization that receives criticism on how they are “coddling” their ace pitcher Strasburg.

    • 18thstreet - May 16, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Because they care more about Strasburg’s arm than Harper’s brain. I’d guess that the Nationals (and other MLB franchises) would take a thumb injury more seriously than a brain injury.

  6. goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:13 AM

    He passed the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 test, twice (Monday and Tuesday). If you read more into the article he’s saying he’s feeling ‘terrible’ because of the bruising he’s got all over his body. Hold him out for the bruising? Fine, but let’s not pretend they’re playing him with a concussion, which goes against literally everything that the Franchise has done over the past 3 years (see Zimmermann, Werth, Strasburg, etc.).

    • paperlions - May 16, 2013 at 9:24 AM

      I’m pretty sure that most neurobiologists mock that “Assessment Tool” as useless. Teams paid for it and use it to cover their ass, not because it has any validity.

      • goskinsvt - May 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

        Here’s the test, judge for yourself.

        http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/43/Suppl_1/i85.full.pdf

      • indaburg - May 16, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        Speaking as a nurse who worked for an emergency department which was a stroke center, I read the assessment tool goskinvt linked and it is valid. No neurologist would laugh at it. It is a thorough neurological assessment covering the Glasgow Coma scale, cognitive abilities, balance, and coordination. A brief scan of some scholarly medical journals also seems to support its validity as more than a CYA tool. That said, even if Harper passed this assessment, the Nats would be wise to give their young star a few days off to heal his body and his bruised brain, if only out of an overabundance of caution.

      • paperlions - May 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

        Yeah, that is a LOT better than the protocol the NFL was using a year or two ago and still may be using…in which the only research to support the “test” was published by the guys that were selling the test…it wasn’t nearly as comprehensive, and only took about 5-10 minutes. Sadly, HS and colleges were using the same test to decide whether or not to send kids back onto the field.

  7. therealtrenches - May 16, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Even though he passed the test twice, and his quote about feeling terrible was about feeling sore, not post-concussion-dazed, Craig couldn’t resist. Scandalizing this non-story. He has too much gossipy old lady in him.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Have you read your hometown paper? It’s not just Craig who isn’t buying the company line

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2013/05/16/bryce-harpers-maybe-almost-not-quite-concussion/

      • therealtrenches - May 16, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        My hometown is Philadelphia, though I haven’t lived there in a dog’s age. And I don’t live in DC either.

        So there are…gasp…*other* media also trumping up this non-story? Say it isn’t so!!!

        I never expected Craig to be the only gossipy old lady in the baseball media. Did you?

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM

        So your complaint is that an opionion based writer gave his opinion on a topic that lots of people have an opinion on. Okay, gotcha.

        Still trying to figure out how he “scandalized” the story

  8. aceshigh11 - May 16, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    It’s madness to let him anywhere near the field after that collision. He’s clearly injured.

    • recoveringcubsfan - May 16, 2013 at 9:49 AM

      I think CC is trolling again…must be bored and tired of watching the Braves and Nats try to out-lose each other. It’s seriously like neither team wants to be in first place.

      “Madness”? A mite strong, perhaps. Anybody ever been in a low-speed car wreck? Your whole body hurts, for days or weeks afterwards. People just aren’t used to every muscle being jarred like that and it takes time to heal them all and for the body to get used to new kinds of pain. So it’s pretty plausible that Harper is whole-body sore and that, in a word, sucks.

      Also possible: he ruptured an eardrum or else something in his inner ear shifted (like some old, dried-up earwax – it happens!) and was responsible for the nausea/carsick feeling he reported the day after.

      Also possible: he has a very small fracture somewhere and it’s causing his body to experience mild, flu-like symptoms due to shock.

      Anyway, he passed the concussion test, whether you believe in that or not isn’t very important. There are a bunch of things that could be wrong with him that are simply the result of, I dunno, running full-speed into a fucking wall and everything isn’t attributable to a concussion just because that’s the obsession in sports for the last few years. Until the team finds a concussion, he doesn’t have a concussion, so that’s where it stands.

  9. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 16, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    At times like these, I think we need to ask what Coach Sauers would say

  10. mscott4 - May 16, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    MLB is a business and these players are adults and for that reason concussions are treated differently than your son or daughter would be treated. Health care for these athletes especially when it comes to concussion is improving but professional sports still does lag behind the rest of the population when it comes to treating a concussion. Read up on the Consensus Statement of Concussion in Sport and tell me if you think this is being handled the proper way.

    Passing SCAT2 or ImPACT does not rule out a concussion as they are not diagnosis tools. They are one tool that can be used to aide in determining if a concussion was suffered or if the athlete has fully recovered from their concussion, but they are not the be all end all way to diagnose. The easiest and most reliable way to determine a concussion is the signs and symptoms of the athlete. Along with taking signs and symptoms there should be Neurocognitive testing, neurological testing, balance testing along with other tests that altogether can help determine if a concussion was suffered. The fact is though that Bryce Harper suffered a blow to the body/head that resulted in symptoms/impairment, most notably nausea. The nausea wasn’t present before the blow therefore Harper suffered a concussion. He should be held out at least until symptom free and back to normal. The risk of playing is suffering another blow to the head that can make his symptoms worse and magnify the injury. At the very least playing through the injury will prolong the symptoms that he is feeling.

    Were Harper a high school athlete he would be held out until symptoms free for at least 24 hours. At that point it is a gradual increase in physical activity starting with Step 1 light aerobic activity and progressing to Step 6 full participation. It is done step by step to ensure that symptoms don’t return at any point and the athlete can safely return to sport. He’s not a HS athlete though, he’s a professional and the teams take advantage of the extreme competitiveness of these players and throw them back out there almost immediately. It’s sad and sends the wrong message to our youth.

  11. jsally430 - May 16, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    the nats better watch out or they’re going to have the next grady Sizemore on their hands

  12. therealtrenches - May 16, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    DelawarePhilliesFan – May 16, 2013 at 12:19 PM
    So your complaint is that an opionion based writer gave his opinion on a topic that lots of people have an opinion on. Okay, gotcha.

    Still trying to figure out how he “scandalized” the story.

    —————-

    and your complaint is that I don’t have an opinion that agrees with Craig’s.

    It’s a non-story. Bryce Harper passed the concussion test twice, is feeling sore (as the article clearly indicates), not concussed, and Craig failed to note both of these.

    He has instead chosen to strongly suggest that the Nats, one of the most protective, coddling franchises in the league, are suddenly taking the tough-guy route with Bryce.

    Do I have to draw you a friggin’ map, or do they just make them dumber down there in the three counties that make up your state?

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