Head Injuries Plague Baseball, Too

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There has been a great deal of talk lately about head injuries and concussions in football. What about head injuries in baseball?

On Sept. 4, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar hit a line drive off the right side of Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy’s head. McCarthy fell to the ground and remained there for a few minutes. Fortunately he was able to walk off the field.

McCarthy was alert after having surgery that night for a skull fracture and brain contusion caused by the line drive.

Perhaps the time has come for pitchers to wear some type of protective headgear. After all, the batter, catcher and umpire all wear protective gear while the pitcher is a defenseless target for baseballs shot at him at 100 mph or greater from 60 feet. We have the technology to design a lightweight protective headgear. We need to carefully follow the course of the McCarthy skull fracture and surgery. Protective gear and rule changes have made football and other sports safer, so now it is baseball’s turn.

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It is fall and the Angels, Dodgers and other teams are in close pennant races. As if cursed, our hometown teams almost always have injuries to outfielders who run into walls.

Matt Kemp of the Dodgers went 3 for 25 since (at press time) following a losing encounter with a fence on Aug. 28. The Dodgers have lost a succession of heartbreaking one-run games since then.

So why can’t we take a clue from the car manufacturers? Many of our new cars have warning systems that alert the driver when he or she is too close to another car, wall, person or obstacle.

Why not do the same for athletes approaching an immovable object? It’s certainly worth a try, particularly since some of these athletes make $20 million a year. We have the technology to do it.

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By now we are all aware of the battle for and against Obamacare. The stakes are high and it may even be the issue that swings and sways the election and beyond.

Most people understand the basic points that not all patients are the same and not everyone reacts to the same treatment the same way. Yet many don’t fully understand how truly unique each and every patient is and how critical it is for individuality to determine the treatment.

Past policies as well as the current trends in politics – coming from both parties – reflect this misunderstanding. Congress has, in effect, inserted the government into the exam room alongside the patient and physician to enforce one-size-fits-all “solutions.” This degradation of the patient-physician relationship leads to undesirable consequences: poorer health outcomes, increased costs, and less availability of care. Undoubtedly this writer as well as you, the reader, will have more to say on this issue as election day approaches.

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Several weeks ago, the news reported the story of an inmate on trial for running and distributing drugs in jail. He had a long history as a drug lord in Mexico. The announcer excitedly told the viewers that if the defendant were found guilty he could spend most of his life in jail. But wait a minute. Isn’t he already in jail for a long time? Why are we wasting our money?

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Here is another comment from my now-4-year-old granddaughter, Brooke. My wife, Mimi, and I refer to these as “Brookisms.”

Brooke was talking to her mother, my daughter Jen, about what second language she wanted to learn. Jen thought she would choose Spanish but instead Brooke said, “Whatever language Hello Kitty speaks.”

“Oh, you mean Japanese,” Jen replied. Later that day the family took a ride to Brooklyn.

“What language do they speak in Brooklyn?” asked Brooke.

Good question, Brooke, as we all laughed. People have been trying to answer that question for years!

Michael Arnold Glueck, M.D., Newport Beach, is an ornery curmudgeon who writes “Deep Thoughts from Dr. Mike” for the Indy and NewportIndy.com. He is on the National Advisory Board of The Physician Patient Medical Association and Legal Advisory Board of California Citizens Against Law Suit Abuse (CALA).

 

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