Starting with Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on Thursday, a seven-day disabled list will be available as part of a new policy for dealing with players who have suffered concussions.
MLB and the players’ union jointly announced the new DL along with protocols that include mandatory baseline testing and steps for evaluating players. Teams also will have to designate a specialist who deals with brain injuries to offer evaluations when needed.
Baseball already has 15- and 60-day disabled lists for players with injuries.
Key components of the policy:
1. Mandatory baseline neuropsychological testing requirements for players and umpires during Spring Training, or when a player joins a club during the season, formalizing a process that most individual Clubs follow;
2. Protocols for evaluating players and umpires for a possible concussion, including during incidents typically associated with a high risk, such as being hit in the head a by a pitched, batted or thrown ball or by a bat; being in a collision with a player, umpire or fixed object; or any time when the head or neck of a player or an umpire is forcibly rotated;
3. The establishment of a seven-day disabled list for concussions, which will aim to allow concussions to clear, prevent players from returning prematurely and give clubs a full complement of players in one's absence; any player on the seven-day DL for more than 14 days will automatically and retroactively be transferred to the 15-day DL, effective with the first day of the initial placement, and with the prior 14 days applying to the initial 15-day maximum term; implemented on a trial basis for the 2011 season;
4. Protocols for clearing a concussed player or umpire to return to activity; prior to the time that a concussed player is permitted to play in any game (including Major League, Minor League or extended Spring Training games), the Club must submit a "Return to Play" form to MLB's Medical Director; submission of the form is required irrespective of whether the player was placed on the disabled list.