A couple of weeks ago, the NFL reached a tentative $765 million settlement with thousands of retired players over concussion-related brain injuries. Growing medical research is showing that these injuries are causing serious long-term health issues to former players. A high-profile documentary is coming in October on the league’s “concussion crisis.”
So it was refreshing on Friday to see the NFL’s official website directly addressing the issue of concussions — in Major League Baseball.
USA Today looked at the rise in head injuries among catchers in baseball, showing the trend has been increasing for the past two years.
Teams have put players on the disabled list due to concussions or head injuries 18 times this year, five more than all of last season and seven more than in 2011, when the seven-day concussion DL was implemented. In 10 of those 18 instances, the players were catchers, including the Boston Red Sox’s David Ross twice.
The article, which is essentially a rewrite of the USA Today piece, isn’t wrong about baseball’s issues with head injuries and the need to address them. But the problem in football is orders of magnitude bigger. To put this in its proper context, 10 players were listed with concussions on the NFL’s injury report just in Week 1 of this season.
This little bit of misdirection would be roughly equivalent to MLB.com writing about the use of performance enhancing drugs by NFL players while making only passing reference to its own Steroid Era. And the NFL.com article did make only passing reference to its concussion problems with this single sentence:
Plus, it appears MLB is dealing with the same concussion culture that the NFL has been trying to change.
Perhaps the NFL should get its own house in order before talking about other sports.