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Study: MLB Concussion Policy May Not Be Enough

Major League baseball players may still be suffering from the effects of concussion, even after they have been cleared to play following baseball's concussion protocol.

That’s from researchers at the University of Rochester, who studied statistics from players returning from concussion and those returning to play after paternity or bereavement leave.

Dr. Jeff Bazarian, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Rochester, led the study.

It suggests that a major league baseball player's performance following a concussion is much worse than for those players who missed time off the field for other reasons, such as paternity or bereavement leave.

Concussed players had worse batting averages (.235 vs. .266), slugging percentages (.361 vs. .423) and on-base percentages (.294 vs. .326) than players who had been away from the game for non-injury reasons.

Dr. Bazarian says any detriment in performance in a concussed player is likely due to the concussion, not the so-called "rust factor," or just sitting around.

And players who missed time due to paternity or bereavement leave actually performed statistically better with rest, not worst, according to the study.

Bazarian says their study suggests Major League Baseball should reconsider its concussion policy, which is staying out of the game for a minimum of seven games. 

If a player passes the concussion protocol, he's cleared to play.

But Dr. Bazarian says the research concludes that brain function can be subtly impaired for weeks or months after a concussion, not just days.

He adds the study also asks the question what are the implications for a player who has not recovered completely and is concussed again.

The medical director for Major League Baseball, Dr. Gary Green, defended the sport's concussion policy, telling  the New York Times that data is reviewed by a neurologist before a player returns.

Green also said the study had major methodological problems.