Concussions may not be as serious an issue for Major League Baseball as it is for other professional leagues, such as the NFL or the NHL, but it's still an important concern to address as the injury trend continues in the league.
Red Sox starter Josh Beckett is the latest player to have a concussion impact his playing time, and though his head injury was minor, it has still garnered attention from the players' union.
The MLBPA's executive director, Michael Weiner, stopped by the Red Sox spring training grounds on Monday to discuss the union's latest objectives, and said they are focused on studying concussions and how to further assess the injury in the future, ESPN.com reports.
"We have medical experts that we rely upon to help us on those things,'' Weiner said. "We're working with the commissioner's office to develop the proper diagnostic protocols, treatment protocols. We're even talking with them about potential rule changes that would allow for more flexibility in terms of dealing with the treatment of concussions."
Among those initiatives could be a possible change to the disabled list rules. A potential 7-day DL is currently being discussed for concussion cases, given that the concussed player can heal in that length of time. Beckett would have been the ideal candidate for this DL period, since he was declared healthy just a few days after he was struck with a batted ball during batting practice last week.
Obviously, the union's concussion initiatives would also benefit those players who suffer the long-term effects of the injury as well, such as Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. By establishing a set protocol for concussion diagnosis and treatment, the league can further assist those players who struggle with the after effects of the injury.
"Player safety is an important part of what we do," Weiner said. "Concussions are not as fundamental or essential a problem as they are in other sports, but Josh, Jason Bay, Justin Morneau, Corey Koskie, Ryan Church, there have been a number of them. And the owners share that view. We all share a view of making sure we do what’s best for the guys."