MLB.com announced on October 21, 2010 that Major League Baseball was looking to add a seven-day disabled list to give concussed players a week to get their bearings back in hopes to be cleared to play.
It was passed in late March and is a great step towards making the game safer. However, has Bud Selig and the rest of the decision makers done enough to help alleviate the problem?
Let me start off by saying that concussions, as terrible as they are, are part of the game. There are also different severity levels of them and having a seven-day disabled list is not going to help every player get back to being ready to play.
It wouldn't have helped Justin Mourneau, who suffered a concussion prior to the 2010 All Star Break yet did not play at all the rest of the season.
It is a good step in the right direction however, and Selig and company deserve a round of applause for the work that they have already done. Another step is slowly being taken as they have instituted the bigger helmets that you now see all minor league players wearing.
These helmets are being held back a bit at the major league level because they think that the helmets look stupid and awkward. So much for caring about your own health, right?
Francisco Cervelli is the only big league player that wears the helmet, seeing as he has had a problem with concussions in the past and it is vitally important for him to wear it because of his health.Other players such as David Wright and Scott Rolen, both following concussions but quickly dismissing them, have tried them but turned them away. Derek Jeter also tried out Cervelli's, but didn't like it either.
Most think it just looks bad, but some players have talked about how uncomfortable it is as well. So what can we do about it? Perhaps a sleeker design? There really isn't much that can change and still keep the helmet as protective as it is.
They have done a lot of good with the new helmet, I don't think anyone doubts that. The helmet does precisely what it is supposed to do; the problem is getting the players to actually wear it.
One way to do this could of course be to just make it mandatory, but this would be unpopular with the players. I think if a player comes up from the minor leagues he should have to wear the helmet at the major league level. That way you would eventually weed out the old helmets with the new one and players will be used to it.
While they do that they can try different ways to make it look better or be more comfortable, but the players need to understand how important it is for these helmets to be used.
It will be important to see how the seven-day DL will affect things this year. Depending on how it goes, MLB could go to a 10-day DL or could keep it as is.
They are doing a good job working to help protect the players, it's just important to make the players go along with it at this point.