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MLB exploring a seven-day DL for concussions

Jason Bay looks on from the dugout during

Jason Bay looks on from the dugout during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. (Sept. 15, 2010) Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Mets have been at the forefront of the recent attention paid to head injuries, with Ryan Church, David Wright and Jason Bay missing significant time with concussions during the past three years.

Now Major League Baseball is stepping up its efforts to further protect players and has set up a committee to re-examine the sport's protocols, which could include a seven-day disabled list for concussions next season, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Thursday.

The addition of a seven-day DL would allow teams to replace the injured player while he recovers and eliminate the incentive to rush that player back, which can lead to lingering post-concussion syndrome.

On average, according to MLB's research, concussions can be resolved within four to six days. Currently, MLB's shortest disabled list is 15 days, which often makes teams reluctant to sideline a player for more than two weeks.

Dealing with concussions is not new for baseball, but it attracted more attention this season with Bay and the Twins' Justin Morneau missing more time than originally was expected.

Bay suffered his concussion July 23 because of a whiplash-type collision with the leftfield bullpen gate at Dodger Stadium and did not return for the rest of the season. Bay's injury initially was described as a "mild concussion," but he could not stay symptom-free for more than 48 hours until late September.

Morneau, who suffered a concussion July 7 when he accidentally was kneed in the head during a double-play slide, did not return to action even though the Twins reached the postseason.

The Mets have been criticized for their handling of concussions, specifically in the case of Church, who suffered two during an 11-week stretch in 2008. But MLB has guidelines in place to deal with head injuries, which include "neurophysical baseline testing for the management and treatment of concussions."

Dr. Alex Valadka, the Chief of Adult Neurosciences and Neurotrauma at the Seton Brain and Spine Institute in Austin, Texas, is on retainer as a consultant regarding concussion protocols.

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