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Joe Mauer's Concussion Symptoms Return

The bad news continues to mount for Twins fans. Earlier this week, the news came out about Ervin Santana being sent back to doctors for his ailing finger and Byron Buxton is heading back to the DL for his broken toe. Joe Mauer was supposed to be close to returning to the field but now his concussion symptoms have returned.

In a contract year, Mauer's continued concussion issues might have him thinking about what the future holds.
Image courtesy of Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
On May 11 against the Angels, he made a dive for a foul ball and something wasn’t quite right. Even Mike Trout, who was on first base, noticed something might have been wrong as Mauer returned to his position. Mauer would play another week before leaving in the middle of a game on May 18.

His drive home that night sounds like it was a scary situation. He felt the concussion symptoms “pour on” on his way home. Mauer stayed at home and away from the team for a couple of days to try and recover.

Thursday was supposed to be another step towards Mauer returning this weekend. He worked out on the field before the team’s contest against Cleveland. Things went fine while he was hitting but jogging and fielding caused some of his concussion symptoms to resurface.

Mauer hoped to be able to sit on the bench during the Cleveland series to see how his body responded to the lights and sounds of a big league game.

Twins Territory saw a Mauer resurgence in 2017. In his age-34 season, he hit .305/.384/.417 with 44 extra-base hits in 141 games. He was also robbed of being a finalist for the AL Gold Glove at first base. He finished third in SABR’s SDI rankings and Eric Hosmer, the eventual winner, finished with the second worst ranking.

So far this season, Mauer has hit .283/.404/.355 with eight extra-base hits in 38 games.

Concussions are a dangerous part of sports. Mauer’s career has been altered because of his recurring symptoms. Former Twin Justin Morneau saw his career cut short because of concussion issues. There are long-term repercussions from continuing to play with mounting concussion concerns.

Mauer has a family to think about and a post-baseball life that might be starting sooner, rather than later.

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21 Comments

The longer Mauer spends on the DL, one would have to imagine the more likely retirement becomes at year's end.

 

That being said, I have not talked to Joe about his plans, so my opinion is worthless.

    • dbminn, Vanimal46 and rdehring like this

I can personally attest that it is extremely hard to drive with concussion symptoms. Far worse than being totally drunk. You can see, but you lose track of what things are. In my case, I slowed down, veered to the side, then banged into a parked car. I could see the car, but I could not think of what to do to avoid hitting it. 

 

Thing is, the previous day I had been knocked flying from my bicycle, but I didn't notice concussion symptoms until the next day. I did not feel "clear headed" for almost a year afterwards. Concussions are horrible, terrifying things. Maybe the worst part is, the damage from concussions does not fully heal, and it tends to accumulate over time. I feel bad for Joe Mauer. His symptoms may fade, but he will be vulnerable to concussion symptoms for the rest of his life. 

    • Brock Beauchamp, ashburyjohn, glunn and 14 others like this

 

I can personally attest that it is extremely hard to drive with concussion symptoms. Far worse than being totally drunk. You can see, but you lose track of what things are. In my case, I slowed down, veered to the side, then banged into a parked car. I could see the car, but I could not think of what to do to avoid hitting it. 

 

Thing is, the previous day I had been knocked flying from my bicycle, but I didn't notice concussion symptoms until the next day. I did not feel "clear headed" for almost a year afterwards. Concussions are horrible, terrifying things. Maybe the worst part is, the damage from concussions does not fully heal, and it tends to accumulate over time. I feel bad for Joe Mauer. His symptoms may fade, but he will be vulnerable to concussion symptoms for the rest of his life. 

 

Wow... that's scary. Thank you for sharing...

    • jimbo92107, Minny505 and DannySD like this
About a month ago, I had a mild concussion. I tripped stupidly over a table leg and planted my forehead on my garage floor. Not sure I completely blacked out, but I sure felt pain and saw stars. I couldn't run or go the gym for over 3 weeks. I worked through it, but computer screens and noise got to me. And I found myself tiring more than normal. On a day I felt really good I did a butt load of yard work. I ended up fatigued and dehydrated and suffered a setback.

I hope the best for Joe. I really enjoyed his re-surgance last season, and his start to this season, and really think we are missing him right now. I have argued for a 1 year, and maybe 2 year deal for him to return. But for his sake, not my beloved Twins, I'm really thinking and hoping he takes his money made and runs away to enjoy the rest of his life with his wife and children.

And as my father joked tonight, maybe have a boy or two to carry on the Mauer baseball legacy!
    • glunn, jimbo92107, Don Walcott and 2 others like this
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Nine of twelve
Jun 01 2018 05:08 AM
It took four years for him to return to the level of play that would have been expected of him had he not sustained his 2013 concussion, and I fear he won't be back at his expected level of performance again this season. As is the case with all of us, I have no inside information and I'm not a neurologist but with these symptoms returning I think this is probably his last season.
    • glunn likes this

After a series of concussions, didn't Justin Morneau's career end with a concussion received while diving for a ball while playing first base?

 

This situation is way to similar.I hope for the best for Joe.But even if he comes back for the rest of the year, this may be the pebble that pushes him over the edge when deciding whether or not to retire.

    • glunn and mikelink45 like this
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Don Walcott
Jun 01 2018 06:43 AM
Of all the bad luck the Twins have had this year, this is the saddest part of the season by far. I hope Joe feels better soon.
    • glunn, Dantes929, twinssouth and 3 others like this

 

I can personally attest that it is extremely hard to drive with concussion symptoms. Far worse than being totally drunk. You can see, but you lose track of what things are. In my case, I slowed down, veered to the side, then banged into a parked car. I could see the car, but I could not think of what to do to avoid hitting it. 

 

Thing is, the previous day I had been knocked flying from my bicycle, but I didn't notice concussion symptoms until the next day. I did not feel "clear headed" for almost a year afterwards. Concussions are horrible, terrifying things. Maybe the worst part is, the damage from concussions does not fully heal, and it tends to accumulate over time. I feel bad for Joe Mauer. His symptoms may fade, but he will be vulnerable to concussion symptoms for the rest of his life. 

 

Interesting.Similar experience for me except I lost an entire day after taking a spill from my bike as a kid.Too this very day I remember nothing of what happened the ENTIRE day except what mom told me and the imprint / bruise of the bike handle bars on my chest.Mom said i wondered home, couldn't remember my name, birth date, etc.(8 years old at the time).Concussions can be extremely dangerous.

    • glunn, Broker and Minny505 like this

There is only one real decision for Joe - what is the best choice for the rest of his life to be healthy and meaningful; what is the best for his family and him?

    • glunn, Mike Sixel, BD57 and 7 others like this

Injury is always part of sports but it seems that this year the disabled list update occupies a larger segment of MLB headlines. I think it is fair to say that durability and ability to play through injury is part of the total package of being an athlete. If Joe Mauer really got a concussion from diving for a foul ball, he should never set foot on the field again. In today's game, Mickey Mantle would probably have stayed on the DL from the time he ran over that sprinkler head in center field. Buxton's .115 average is probably what sent him back on the DL; not his toe. Still concerned about Sano but I hope he is able to finish the season out injury free and see what numbers he can pile up. That opposite field shot was an amazing thing to see and MLB Net had a great view of it.

    • Broker and ewen21 like this

This is so sad.

I feel for the guy. He had a Hall of Fame career derailed by a nagging, mysterious injury. Tough break.

However, $150 million dollars is a pretty nice consolation. Hard to feel sorry for a guy who made that much money over a decade of doing something I pay league fees to play every year.

I feel sorry for construction workers that get terminal mesothelioma and get screwed by health insurance companies, while making 40k per year over 30 year career. I feel sorry for a private in the Marine Corps that gets half of his body blown to bits fighting for a bunch of ungrateful Liberal millennials, while making peanuts.

A guy riding into the sunset in his mid-30s, with enough asset-wise to support the next 5 generations of Mauers doesn't do much to my heartstrings. Especially when we know he's got a cushy Twins FO job waiting for him.

Tough break, but I don't think it's necessary to shed a tear and play flowers of the forest on the bagpipes.
    • jimbo92107, Minny505 and ewen21 like this
Do what's right for you, Joe. Don't worry about us fans.

I'll remember him as one of my favorite Twins players. He was drafted and made his MLB debut during my "sports sports sports, my whole life is just sports" phase.
    • glunn, Mike Sixel, Dantes929 and 1 other like this

 

Wow... that's scary. Thank you for sharing...

I'm sorry I don't have better news for Joe Mauer, a player I truly admire. He does so many things right, but if a hard, jarring impact brought back his symptoms even without banging his head... Man, that sounds a lot like what Corey Koske went through. 

 

Different parts of our bodies heal in different ways. A properly set bone can be stronger after it heals. A cut either heals by itself or can be stitched, and heals. The TJ ligament can be replaced, sewed together, and be stronger than the original. But the brain is like a mass of microcircuits that doesn't regrow quite right after it gets damaged. Instead, it appears to create new connections, but they aren't as good as the originals, more like a weak patch that is less robust than the original tissue. Worse, repeated concussions make the overall situation progressively worse, which Justin Morneau discovered after his concussions as a hockey goalie made him more vulnerable to that collision at second base. 

 

One thing we all know is that you don't have to be a pro athlete to have plenty of experience with repeated concussions. I've been knocked unconscious several times going back to my childhood playing football, baseball, wrestling and gymnastics. If I had any idea what was in store later on, I would have avoided all contact sports and joined the friggin chess club. The human brain simply isn't built to survive heavy impacts without suffering permanent damage. 

    • glunn and Broker like this

With a recurrence of his concussion symptoms it sounds like Mauer won't be back anytime soon. By the time he might be able to give it another try, the Twins could be effectively out of the playoff race, at which point you'd have to question if it's worth coming back at all (especially if he's thinking about retiring after the season).

 

I feel for the guy. He had a Hall of Fame career derailed by a nagging, mysterious injury. Tough break.

However, $150 million dollars is a pretty nice consolation. Hard to feel sorry for a guy who made that much money over a decade of doing something I pay league fees to play every year.

I feel sorry for construction workers that get terminal mesothelioma and get screwed by health insurance companies, while making 40k per year over 30 year career. I feel sorry for a private in the Marine Corps that gets half of his body blown to bits fighting for a bunch of ungrateful Liberal millennials, while making peanuts.

A guy riding into the sunset in his mid-30s, with enough asset-wise to support the next 5 generations of Mauers doesn't do much to my heartstrings. Especially when we know he's got a cushy Twins FO job waiting for him.

Tough break, but I don't think it's necessary to shed a tear and play flowers of the forest on the bagpipes.

I'm kind of with you on this though I don't know any ungrateful Liberal millenials or any ungrateful Conservative millenials for that matter.Anyway, irrelevant politic smears aside I don't really feel more sympathy for Joe than any others that I know, including myself,that have had concussions even though Mauer seems like a pretty good egg.I feel a little sorry for myself because I have always enjoyed watching him play and I think he helps the Twins when healthy.Maybe his next gig will be DH where he doesn't have to worry about the dives. I think his .400 OBP would still play well with this group.

    • Chachi likes this

 

If Joe Mauer really got a concussion from diving for a foul ball, he should never set foot on the field again. 

Simply step away because the risks don't justify the reward of "having fun playing baseball".This goes far beyond baseball.He has a young family and I would not want my brother or my best friend playing given the same circumstances.

 

I sure hope Joe gets some sound advice.

    • Broker and Nine of twelve like this

Darius - we likely agree on a number of topics - but please don't assume broad swaths of our shared communities don't have great respect for those who risk and give more than they can imagine.

 

That said - much like Hrbek inspired an entire generation of kids to do the splits when stretching for a ball arriving at first base, Joe is an icon worth emulating in his play and class.

 

I can only imagine everyone wishes him well and time will reveal what he truly meant to the Twinkies for this generation.

    • Dantes929 and Broker like this

Joe Maurer has been a very good baseball player for our hometown team. Even after 4 or 5 years of playing after a concussion his BA is still over .300. He plays great defense. In other words he does exactly what a baseball player is supposed to do. And he does it better than most.

He also gets paid more than most. People seem to forget that the Twins agreed to his contract. The other players have agents that get them as much as possible too.

I don't understand why so many people complain. I hope he can play as long as he wants without medical problems.

Well my liberal, millennial cousin did 3 tours in Iraq removing IED's, and came home with pretty severe PTSD. What an ungrateful kid.

Man this place can be embarrassing sometimes.
    • Brock Beauchamp, USAFChief, Twins33 and 4 others like this
Thankyou to all of you that shared your experiences with concussions. I feel fortunate now to not experiencing the after effects of various events of my "bulletproof" youth. While I had the athletic heart of a lion, the physical skill set fell a bit short. That meant many collisions with the ground and other players in: baseball, football. volleyball, and bicycling, (thank goodness for bowling). Somehow, I managed to escape my exploits without the impact of concussions and am only hampered by a mind that thinks it's body is 40 years younger than actual.

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