There are several interesting story lines here. The biggest and most worrisome is for Kerwin Danley himself. Danley was struck by a ball last year resulting in a concussion. Now this is his second in less than a year.
How is he a few days later? The Associated Press reported he was at the hospital for 20 minutes but continues with a massive headache and will leave Toronto soon to be evaluated by Major League Baseball soon. Full story is here.
I certainly hope for him a full recovery and that he can return to umpiring soon but it's difficult not to worry about his future and his health after his second head injury. Last year, he was out for a month if my memory serves me correctly.
But there are some important issues I'd like to discuss. I sincerely want your thoughts on anything below that you want to chime in on. I'll hold my thoughts back and let you talk first for once.
- Both Hickox and Danley were wearing Shock FX umpire helmets. Is the Shock FX not doing its job or did it prevent more severe injuries?
- The concussion last year by Danley led him to changing to the Shock FX. What would have happened if he were wearing a traditional style umpire mask? Fared worse? Fared better? No difference?
- In football, you hear of players with multiple concussions retiring to prevent the threat of long-term consequences. What happens when umpires receive multiple concussions? Are we sadly at a point where this becomes an issue? Has it ever been an issue before?
- Let's say a doctor told Danley it is too risky for him to umpire behind the plate again or he sustains another concussion later (he's been in the majors for 11 years so he could umpire for 20 more years or so), could Major League Baseball or the MLB umpires allow him or any other umpire potentially in such a predicament to only work the bases as an accommodation?
- Last year, the big discussion was breaking maple bats? Do we begin discussing ash bats now as well? Does MLB and/or the bat manufactures need to take drastic measures before things get worse or is this an overblown story?
- In college and below, where most of our customers are, umpires should be immune to broken wooden bats. Have you seen, heard or been the victim of any errant aluminum bat that struck an umpire or you? If so, what was the result?
And I certainly hope we don't have any more MLB umpires injured anytime soon.