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3 Concussion Litig. Rep. [1] (2014-2015)

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July 2014, Vol. 3, No. 1

Timely reporting on developments and legal strategies at the intersection of sports and concussions-
articles that benefit practicing attorneys who may be pursuing a claim or defending a client.


     Alex Torres First MLB Pitcher to Wear Protective Cap

     Cumulative Concussive and Sub-Concussive Events in Sport
     Former College Basketball Player Sues NCAA, Claiming It Was Negligent in Its
      Treatment of His Concussions
     Footballer Jeff Astle Died from 'Boxing' Brain Injury

     California Takes the Plunge, Curtailing Practices in a Bid to Reduce Concussions
     Federal Judge Sends Concussion Case Back to State Court, Finds CBA Inapplicable
     Ex-Football Player Targets Baldwin Wallace University in Concussion Lawsuit
     Michigan District Court Confirms $1.6 Million Judgment Against Former Spartan and
      Detroit Red Wing Hockey Player

     New NFL Concussion Deal Still Flawed - May Fail Again

Alex Torres First MLB Pitcher to Wear Protective Cap
By Jordan Kobritz

San Diego Padres pitcher Alex Torres wasn't trying to make a fashion statement, he was merely
trying to protect his head. Torres, a 26-year old lefthander from Venezuela, became the first MLB
pitcher to wear a protective cap in a game when he was summoned from the bullpen in the eighth
inning of the June 21 game against the Dodgers.

The cap is arguably the ugliest item of clothing ever worn on a baseball diamond. A close second
might be the softball-style uniforms worn by the Oakland A's during the 1970's at the insistence of
their maverick owner, Charles Finley. The new headwear is fitted with energy-diffusing protective
plates that create bulges around the sides and front of the cap. Not surprisingly, it's also heavier than
the normal baseball cap, adding seven ounces to the normal 3-4 ounce cap. It looks awkward, but its
looks are no more awkward than its name: isoBLOX, manufactured by the company of the same
name. The company says the cap can absorb impacts up to 90 miles per hour in the front, and up to
85 miles an hour on the sides.

No sooner had Torres taken the mound then social media erupted with comments, most of them
negative and some downright derogatory. Players, commentators, fans and even Torres' wife mocked
him for donning the cap. Padres' announcer Dick Enberg said the cap didn't look sexy, to which
Torres responded, Timeout, who the hell cares if it doesn't look sexy? For Torres, the cap was all
about safety, and with good reason. Every time a pitcher takes the mound, he puts his career -
indeed his life - in jeopardy.

While the so-called contact sports - football and hockey - have monopolized the headlines when it
comes to concussions, baseball is not immune to such injuries. Concussions are a growing concern
in MLB, as evidenced by the fact that a specific rule was instituted in 2011 which allows teams to
place players on a seven-day concussion DL (Disabled List). Catchers are particularly at risk, despite
their extra padding and protective headgear. In the 2013 season, 18 DL moves were related to
concussions, up from a total of 13 in 2012 and 11 in 2011. Ten of the 18 moves involved catchers,
including Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross twice. Those numbers pale in comparison to the

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