Whats the 'Catch' with Concussions and Baseball Players?

When thinking about concussions in sport, baseball is a sport in which the concussion risk is relatively low.

But when they do happen, is it harder for baseball players to recover from a concussion?

Hitting a baseball requires excellent hand-eye coordination, strong visual acuity, quick reaction time, excellent attention and focus, and quick but accurate decision-making.

In a very similar way, a concussion injury can affect many of these same skill sets, as well as hamper balance and motor coordination among others. 

Normally a concussion clears up in 1 to 2 weeks, but studies have shown that concussion injuries are associated with decreased batting performance. Although the return to play protocol for baseball players is similar to other sports, baseball batters can take several weeks longer to recover in terms of hitting performance.

After a baseball player recovers from their concussion symptoms a comparison to their baseline concussion test, pre-injury scores is needed. Our baseline concussion test evaluates eye-hand coordination, visual acuity, concentration, executive decision-making, balance and agility, as well as helps to assure that an athlete has fully recovered from their concussion. Deficits that are still present after a baseline test then become crucial for full recovery.

Since a major league fastball takes approximately 0.4 seconds to reach the plate, a batter requires many skill sets that may have been hampered after a concussion injury, while using a 2 1/4" diameter bat to hit a 3" diameter ball.

Functional MRI studies of baseball players identifying the types of pitch thrown demonstrated that multiple regions of the brain are involved in a hitting decision, and the number of brain areas involved increases with the increasing number of potential pitches.

The ability to successfully perform these tasks depends on the proper function of multiple neural networks. The ocular network controls smooth eye pursuit and saccadic movements which are involved in seeing the ball and making a prediction about its location. In addition, attentional networks allow players to integrate extra perceptual information (e.g. pitch count, pitch sequence, pitcher arm position) to enhance the prediction of ball location, as well as block out extra non-needed stimuli. Finally, the initiation and completion of a successful bat swing requires proper functioning of the motor circuits, vestibular and cerebellar network involved in posture stability and balance, circuits involved in visual reaction time, as well as brain areas that provides inhibition control over a swing once initiated.

Using advanced neurocognitive equipment and processes, Honsberger Physio+ provides a baseball specific baseline concussion test that allows us to identify challenges in the recovering athlete and is able to enhance these deficits with the same process and training protocols.

We provide Baseline Concussion Testing programs for individual players and teams. Our Baseline Concussion Testing program utilizes 

We offer Baseline Concussion Tests for baseball players in Markham and Aurora. 

Click here to book your Baseline Concussion Test today!

Written by: 

Efan Gonsalves, B.H.SC. (PT)

Orthopedic Rehabilitation
105-675 Cochrane Drive, Markham, ON L3R 0B8 P (905) 940-2627 F (905) 940-3136 HONSBERGER@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM
81 Temperance Street, Aurora, ON L4G 2R1 P (905) 841-0411 F (905) 841-7311 AURORA@HONSBERGERPHYSIOPLUS.COM