Sunday, September 22, 2013

Concussion Shutdown Adds To Mounting Health Concerns For Romine

It's been over a week since Austin Romine suffered a concussion against the Baltimore Orioles, and despite being cleared by team doctors to return to catching bullpen sessions, Romine is going to be shut down for the rest of the season due to lingering concussion symptoms.  Romine talked about still feeling the effects of the concussion to Andy McCullough of The Star-Ledger on Thursday, saying he felt "off" and "I know my body. I know what I can do. So when I do stuff I’m not used to doing, I’m like ‘What the heck?’ I don’t want that to happen in a game.”

Romine referring to his knowledge of his body and how he is feeling may refer to the last concussion he suffered in 2011, one that cost him a lot of time in the Minors.  He followed that up with a back injury that sapped almost his entire 2012 season away before he finally got back to full health this year, so concussions and injury problems in general are nothing new for Romine.  That he is still feeling symptoms of this latest concussion almost 2 weeks after the fact is very concerning.  Catcher is a grueling position to play, and Romine is already racking up the job-related injuries that can cripple a guy's ability to be a good catcher at a young age.

With brain injuries and concussions being such a hot button topic in sports today, the Yankees are doing the right thing in shutting Romine down for the season.  You can't be too careful and this is already his second documented concussion in 3 years.  His long term health is the most important thing right now, and at 24 he's got plenty of time to work on improving his baseball skills.  But keep this in mind next year when the catching competition starts heating up in spring camp.  Romine could be the favorite to win the job if the team isn't active on the FA market, and it will be interesting to see if they take any extra precautions to limit his exposure to another potential head injury.

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