Between baseball and football, last week provided at least a month’s worth of sports medicine subjects.
Last Monday, John Loos, 60, of Schaumburg held a news conference at his lawyer’s office to discuss the lawsuit he had filed against the Cubs in the wake of losing the sight in his left eye after being struck by a foul ball on Aug. 29 at Wrigley Field. Legal precedent — specifically known as the “Baseball Rule” — suggests that the Cubs will prevail.
Furthermore, Loos’ assertion that he “had no idea you were subjected to such missiles in the stands” is ridiculous. Nonetheless, the simple physics of foul balls and fan proximity — which I explained in this space on June 15, 2015 — demand that protective netting be extended at least as far as the outfield end of dugouts. Major League Baseball is moving in that direction in the wake of a toddler being badly injured in the stands at Yankee Stadium last month, but why has it been so difficult to make such an easy decision?
Legal action started the work week and finished it. On Friday — as predicted in this space on Sept. 23 – the CTE-related lawsuit, filed on behalf of the daughter and fiancée of the late Aaron Hernandez, was dismissed in federal court.
Any NFL player whose career ended prior to 2014 and did not opt out of the $1 billion settlement of the federal class action concussion-related lawsuit is ineligible to sue individually in federal court and Hernandez did not opt out. Lawyers for the former Patriots tight end’s survivors stated on Friday they would be refiling in Massachusetts state court.
Meanwhile on the fields of play, coaches and medics courted trouble, too.
On Thursday, the Cubs survived Joe Maddon’s maddening mismanagement of his pitching staff only because the Nationals succumbed to Dusty Baker’s.
Brought back too soon before the end of the season on Sept. 26 with a still-strained hamstring, Jake Arrieta didn’t pitch for another 15 days and lasted only four innings in game four of the NLDS.
In Game 5, though, Baker brought in ace starter Max Scherzer from the bullpen for the fifth inning on two days rest. Three outs later, the Cubs had scored four runs and gained a lead they would not relinquish.
There are physiologic reasons why starters get four days off between appearances. Similarly, there are reasons to limit the innings of starters, particularly young starters. Baker apparently has never learned either lesson. While managing the Cubs (2003-06), he helped flame out Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Carlos Zambrano.
At Saturday’s Red River Showdown in Dallas between Oklahoma and Texas, who was managing Longhorns quarterback Sam Ehlinger when he went down in the fourth quarter? Slammed on his head and right shoulder near the Texas sideline, Ehlinger then lay motionless.
ABC’s overhead camera showed him seemingly unresponsive. Replays revealed that upon landing, he displayed the “fencing response” (forearms reflexively rise rigidly) that often occurs with concussions. After nearly a minute, he suddenly popped up to a sitting position, was escorted to the sideline medical tent and was evaluated for barely five minutes, returning after missing five plays. From then until game’s end, he completed only one of five pass attempts.
Certainly no passing grades there, by any measure.