On Concussions, and Letting Justin Morneau Do His Thing

It's inevitable that everyone won't understand a certain situation, no matter how much information is available or how "obvious" overwhelming evidence appears to be. So it should come as no surprise that some people are still riding Justin Morneau's case, complaining that he's not "gutting it out" or that he's "wasting a roster spot". As far as I'm concerned those aren't opinions, they're ill-informed, unfounded and angry accusations founded in ignorance.

By now most of us understand the severity, or at least the implied severity, underscoring a concussion, but I want to make this easy. A concussion is, essentially, your brain knocking against your skull. Literally, the soft tissue that controls everything about who you are and what you do gets sloshed around inside your head. A concussion causes your brain to malfunction, which is why common symptoms involve disturbed vision, a loss of equilibrium or loss of consciousness. Depending on any number factors, the effects of all that pressure on your brain as inertia forces it violently against the inside of your head can last for an indeterminate amount of time.

In spite of the severity of such an injury, none of it means that a person can't move past a concussion. The issue, as far as Morneau's last concussion is concerned, is that his symptoms continued to persist not just days or weeks after the incident, but months. As late as October Morneau had days where he wasn't free from symptoms, which is scary.

The great news is that, recently, Justin actually has had symptom-free days. Bill Smith has said that Morneau is working up to baseball-related activities, and even after pushing himself as hard as he possibly could Morneau still felt fine. Finally, after months of concern over whether or not his symptoms ever would go away, it seems they have for the time being.

Yet, when Morneau is told to skip Twins Fest in order to continue those workouts and to continue with his rehab so that he can be as ready as he can possibly be for baseball in just a few weeks, people still have the audacity to call him out?

There is no set recovery time from a concussion. This seems to be where part of the issue is for those who seem to be angry or impatient with Morneau. But right now, Morneau is healthy, and he's doing everything in his power to make sure he's ready to contribute in 2011. He's not half-assing it, he's not wasting a roster spot, he's not going back and forth on whether or not he'll be playing this season.

For anyone still questioning Morneau's toughness or his motivation, just get over it. Our job, as fans, is to have an informed opinion. None of that rubbish I mentioned at the top applies. All we can do is let him continue to work out, continue to rehab, and continue to do everything he thinks he needs to do to get ready. That's his job.

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