It looks like the NBA is a step closer to implementing a policy that deals with concussions next season after meeting with an independent neurologist.
Tim Frank, an NBA spokesman, said the league has been studying the effects of concussions on players for a few years now, but at the moment each team has its own policy and that means things may be handled differently from team to team. The league is thinking about bringing in a policy that each club would have to follow.
The NFL and NHL already have league-wide rules in place and the increasing number of concussions in the NBA will likely lead to the same thing. Six players have missed basketball games in the last month due to concussions.
Chris Paul, point guard for New Orleans, was carried off the court on a stretcher on March 6 after he hit his forehead on Cleveland’s Ramon Sessions’ shoulder. Paul was diagnosed with suffering from a concussion and it’s unknown how long he’ll be out of action.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Keyon Dooling, who’s a member of the players’ executive committee said basketball players don’t really realize how bad concussions can be because they don’t happen too often in the sport, they’re more common in hockey and football.
Both the league and players’ union have been keeping track of hits to the head and Frank said there haven’t been too many, but it’s still a concern and clubs have to be cautious with them and make sure players don’t return to action until they’ve fully recovered.
LA Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said the league will have to balance out how the game is played with player safety. He said it’s fine trying to bring in new rules to protect the players, but he doesn’t want to see them spoil the natural flow of the game. He said there’s going to be physical contact and collisions in the air because it’s a part of the game.
The NHL and NFL have tightened their rules when it comes to head hits and Major League Baseball is thinking about introducing a seven-day disabled list for players who might have concussions. This will give doctors at least a week to properly diagnose them.
Many star players in different leaguers have suffered from shots to the head lately. In the NHL, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who was leading the league in scoring, hasn’t played since being hit on Jan. 6. He’s still out and has missed almost a third of the season.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered two concussions and missed an NFL game this season and Minnesota Twins Justin Morneau played his first MLB spring training game on March 8 after suffering a concussion back in July. It’s been reported that eight NBA players sat out games this season due to head injuries and there’s been an average of nine over the last five years. However, those numbers could actually be higher as players are sometimes misdiagnosed.
It’s likely we’ll see a new policy brought in sometime soon and it makes sense to protect players as much as possible from themselves.