Sports | September 29, 2017 1:47 pm

How Major League Baseball Handles Catcher Concussions

The season has been particularly brutal for backstops.

With all eyes on the NFL and its growing CTE epidemic, concussion threats in a game like professional baseball often get overlooked. But it’s a very real threat, and one that especially catchers—and grittier-type players—have to live with on a day-to-day basis.

The most famous non-catcher example is Ryan Freel, a utility player who committed suicide in 2012, who became the first MLB player to receive a postmortem diagnosis of CTE (the degenerative brain disease can currently only be diagnosed after death).

Despite catchers now wearing hockey-style masks behind the plate and the Buster Posey Rule, things seem to be getting worse. Per CBS Sports, this season has been particularly bad in terms of catcher concussions, with 11 cases that led to disabled list stints. (The previous two seasons had just nine such cases combined.) Since 2006, there have been 77 incidents of concussions leading to disabled list stints for catchers.

Concussions are also a threat to pitchers, who might be caught by a line-drive to the face or bowled over while covering first. Since 2006, 13 pitchers have been concussed and sent to the DL.