Concussions Causing Headaches for Baseball, Too

The National Football League isn't the only professional sports organization suffering headaches from concussions. For some Major League Baseball teams, head injuries to key players could impact the pennant races.

Most notable on that disabled list is Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau, who's been benched since July 7, when he slid into the knee of Toronto Blue Jays infielder John McDonald. The Twins have a three-and-a-half-game lead in the American League Central, but the 2006 American League MVP was expected to be a crucial factor in the Twins' playoff chase. "I still haven't had a symptom-free day," Morneau told USA Today.

Morneau, who suffered concussions playing youth hockey, still takes batting practice, but dizziness and other symptoms persist. Thus, he hasn't been cleared to play. Neither has New York Mets outfielder Jason Bay, who banged his head against an outfield wall in July, but returned for two games before a doctor diagnosed his concussion - leading the team to learning more about it."

Baseball's stakes in the current concussion discussion became even bigger last week when Boston University researchers found evidence indicating that Lou Gehrig, one of the sport's all-time greats, might not have actually had the disease that bears his name. Rather, at least five documented concussions - including a pitch to his helmet-less head that knocked Gehrig out cold for five minutes in 1934 - may have contributed to his death.

As Yahoo! Sports columnist Jeff Passan recently reminded readers, concussions can end the careers of baseball players just as tragically as they can those of football players: "On July 5, 2006, nearly four years on the dot before Morneau's concussion, [Milwaukee Brewers third baseman] Corey Koskie gave chase for a harmless pop-up. He twisted and turned, the ball's loop-de-loop spinning him to the ground. It looked so benign. It felt that way, too, until nine days later, when Koskie took batting practice for the first time, felt dizzy, went to his hotel and never returned to a major-league field."

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