May 18, 2010
NBA Player Speaks Out On League’s Concussion Policy

MILWAUKEE – Three years ago, when he was at UCLA, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sustained a concussion that kept him off the basketball court for eight days, until he completed a series of neurocognitive tests.

That’s why the Bucks forward was so surprised when all he needed to return this season following a mild concussion was simply his word to the training staff.

“I didn’t have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here, Mbah a Moute said. They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, ‘You’re fine.'”

Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made him think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.

“There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don’t get as bad concussions as football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion, Mbah a Moute said. It’s a serious injury and there should be tests.”

While league officials say concussions are rare in the NBA, Milwaukee has dealt with a flurry of head injuries this season, highlighting the fact that the injuries can and do happen on the hardcourt. Mbah a Moute didn’t sit out a game with his, though the Bucks listed the two other players who missed time this season as having “concussion-like symptoms.” Carlos Delfino was out 32 games with what he said was, indeed, a concussion and Corey Maggette sat for two more.

The Bucks said they handle every head injury on a case-by-case basis, and general manager John Hammond said the team takes the issue seriously.

“Head injuries have now become a real hot-button issue in sports in general. And, I think that when a player is dealing with issues like this, we have to be concerned and well we should be, Hammond said. I just think it’s obviously something you can’t take lightly, you can’t take for granted.”

The NBA and the players’ union say they are monitoring head hits, but there hasn’t been the same level of concern as in other sports such as hockey and football, in which concussions are more common.

“We pay significant attention to this particular injury, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. We keep track of every injury that happens in the league and spend considerable time educating doctors on the dangers of concussions and how to identify them.”

Other leagues have taken or are considering new steps to limit or better diagnose head injuries.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said during All-Star game weekend that concussions are up this season, though he noted the increase seems to be caused by accidental or inadvertent situations, instead of contact from another player. The NHL added “Rule 48” late last season that bans lateral blindside hits to the head.

Yet Sidney Crosby missed the All-Star game with a concussion and the Boston Bruins put Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve Monday with his second concussion in less than a year.

Major League Baseball has been considering a seven-day disabled list specifically for concussions and redesigned batting helmets have been introduced that can withstand greater impact from thrown baseballs.

The NFL made much of its crackdown on players for helmet-to-helmet hits, and decided before the season to make every team identify an independent neurologist for players to see when they have a concussion — like the NHL does.

According to league data obtained by The Associated Press in December, the number of concussions being reported this past season was up more than 30 percent from 2008. The league considered that proof teams and players were taking head injuries more seriously and being more open about them.

Delfino, who returned to play Jan. 21, was out 2 1/2 months with symptoms that included headaches, nausea and fatigue following what he believes was his second concussion in less than a year.

The Argentine said he thinks he sustained an initial concussion last March 26 when he stumbled and landed face down in the lane driving for a layup. Miami’s Udonis Haslem jumped for the loose ball and inadvertently landed on the back of Delfino’s head and neck. Delfino said he was knocked unconscious.

He missed three games the next week, but returned. The team described Delfino’s absence at the time as being due to neck and jaw soreness.

In November, he said he was hit in the head against Minnesota on Oct. 29, followed by additional blows to the head against Charlotte the next night and Indiana on Nov. 5. When the Bucks played New Orleans on Nov. 6, Delfino only lasted 17 minutes.

NBA Player Speaks Out On League’s Concussion Policy

By COLIN FLY, Associated Press

MILWAUKEE – Three years ago, when he was at UCLA, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sustained a concussion that kept him off the basketball court for eight days, until he completed a series of neurocognitive tests.

That’s why the Bucks forward was so surprised when all he needed to return this season following a mild concussion was simply his word to the training staff.

“I didn’t have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here, Mbah a Moute said. They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, ‘You’re fine.'”

Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made him think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.

“There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don’t get as bad concussions as football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion, Mbah a Moute said. It’s a serious injury and there should be tests.”

While league officials say concussions are rare in the NBA, Milwaukee has dealt with a flurry of head injuries this season, highlighting the fact that the injuries can and do happen on the hardcourt. Mbah a Moute didn’t sit out a game with his, though the Bucks listed the two other players who missed time this season as having “concussion-like symptoms.” Carlos Delfino was out 32 games with what he said was, indeed, a concussion and Corey Maggette sat for two more.

The Bucks said they handle every head injury on a case-by-case basis, and general manager John Hammond said the team takes the issue seriously.

“Head injuries have now become a real hot-button issue in sports in general. And, I think that when a player is dealing with issues like this, we have to be concerned and well we should be, Hammond said. I just think it’s obviously something you can’t take lightly, you can’t take for granted.”

The NBA and the players’ union say they are monitoring head hits, but there hasn’t been the same level of concern as in other sports such as hockey and football, in which concussions are more common.

“We pay significant attention to this particular injury, NBA spokesman Tim Frank said. We keep track of every injury that happens in the league and spend considerable time educating doctors on the dangers of concussions and how to identify them.”

Other leagues have taken or are considering new steps to limit or better diagnose head injuries.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said during All-Star game weekend that concussions are up this season, though he noted the increase seems to be caused by accidental or inadvertent situations, instead of contact from another player. The NHL added “Rule 48” late last season that bans lateral blindside hits to the head.

Yet Sidney Crosby missed the All-Star game with a concussion and the Boston Bruins put Marc Savard on long-term injured reserve Monday with his second concussion in less than a year.

Major League Baseball has been considering a seven-day disabled list specifically for concussions and redesigned batting helmets have been introduced that can withstand greater impact from thrown baseballs.

The NFL made much of its crackdown on players for helmet-to-helmet hits, and decided before the season to make every team identify an independent neurologist for players to see when they have a concussion — like the NHL does.

According to league data obtained by The Associated Press in December, the number of concussions being reported this past season was up more than 30 percent from 2008. The league considered that proof teams and players were taking head injuries more seriously and being more open about them.

Delfino, who returned to play Jan. 21, was out 2 1/2 months with symptoms that included headaches, nausea and fatigue following what he believes was his second concussion in less than a year.

The Argentine said he thinks he sustained an initial concussion last March 26 when he stumbled and landed face down in the lane driving for a layup. Miami’s Udonis Haslem jumped for the loose ball and inadvertently landed on the back of Delfino’s head and neck. Delfino said he was knocked unconscious.

He missed three games the next week, but returned. The team described Delfino’s absence at the time as being due to neck and jaw soreness.

In November, he said he was hit in the head against Minnesota on Oct. 29, followed by additional blows to the head against Charlotte the next night and Indiana on Nov. 5. When the Bucks played New Orleans on Nov. 6, Delfino only lasted 17 minutes.






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