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Bay's concussion worries Collins

Jason Bay, center, leaves the game in the

Jason Bay, center, leaves the game in the second inning. (June 15, 2012) Credit: Jim McIsaac

Jason Bay has yet to be evaluated by a specialist, but Terry Collins admitted yesterday to fearing the worst for his leftfielder, who suffered another concussion Friday.

"I'm really worried about the severity of this injury," Collins said before Sunday's game, a 3-1 loss to the Reds. The Mets manager said Bay likely will undergo more tests this week. "I hope after he calms down and everything calms down that we can get the guy back, but I don't know what it's going to take."

Bay, on the seven-day disabled list, suffered his second concussion in less than two years after crashing headfirst into the leftfield wall while attempting to catch Jay Bruce's inside-the-park homer. He missed the final two months of the 2010 season with a concussion suffered in a similar outfield accident.

"Nobody has dealt with worse luck here than Jason Bay," Collins said. He said if he were in Bay's shoes, family and finances would factor into a decision on whether to continue his career. Bay, 33, is married with three children and is in the third year of a four-year, $66-million contract.

"On my ride home with my wife [Friday], we talked about what would we do if I was in a situation like that as a father and a husband, and looking down the road 15 to 20 years," Collins said. "I don't know and I can't answer those things, but I know Jason is a very sharp guy and he'll make the determination he thinks is best for him and his family."

Collins, who said he hopes to meet with Bay this week, acknowledged the possibility that a player might never fully recover from a severe concussion. He cited Twins first baseman Justin Morneau as an example. Morneau's concussions and subsequent symptoms limited the 2006 American League MVP to a total of 150 games in 2010 and 2011. Morneau, hitting .236 in 48 games this year, admitted before this season to having contemplated retirement.

Ryan Church missed part of the 2008 season with the Mets and had his career derailed by two concussions in less than three months that year.

"You start talking about those head injuries and it's a scary thing," said Mets third baseman David Wright, who suffered a concussion after being hit in the head by a pitch in August 2009. "The baseball thing is on the back burner right now. We're just worried about his health."

Bay's tenure as a Met has been a disappointment. The three-time All-Star had a stellar season in 2009 with the Red Sox, posting career highs of 36 homers and 119 RBIs. But in 240 games as a Met, Bay has hit .246 with 22 homers and has been plagued by injuries.

Concussions have become one of sports' hot topics in recent years, which Collins attributed to increased awareness and advancements in diagnosis.

"There had to have been concussions years ago," he said. "Guys came back, had headaches and took aspirins and moved on. But how does it affect them in the future? Maybe worse than we realized."

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