Concussion. It’s the injury no league wants to talk about right now. The NFL has had meetings on and off for a couple of years regarding their lasting importance and severity and baseball has seen its share of athletes retire (Corey Koskie, Mike Matheny) thanks to symptoms that would not go away. In basketball though, we rarely hear about them. The sport seems to have the least chance of a head injury, as there is no safety slamming players to the ground as they go up for a dunk or pitchers throwing 100 mph fastballs at guards shooting free throws.
Yet still, the NBA is not impervious to concussions.
Milwaukee’s Carlos Delfino is proof. He’s apparently heading for a couple weeks off, having suffered a concussion earlier this season that know one really knew much about. In a post on his website, Delfino details playing through a few headaches since the Bucks October 29th game in Minnesota, though the translation is difficult to read at times.
Revealing his concussion does not come as a surprise to many, as Coach Scott Skiles has said he’s had some dizziness that he’s been fighting through, even though the Bucks have only officially acknowledged his injury as a neck strain. Most who’ve strained their neck at one point or another though, don’t experience dizziness. Oddly enough, Delfino was also injured last season when Heat forward Udonis Haslem accidentally stepped on his neck, resulting in neck and jaw soreness. Delfino was said to be experiencing headaches and light sensitivity at the time as well, but not a word about a concussion was ever breathed. So why all the concussion confusion?
Your guess is as good as mine. But I’d bet it has something to do with that ugly little word usually reserved for the NFL. While the NBA doesn’t have the impact football does, they don’t have the protection either. Practically the only thing an NBA player can do is wear a mouth guard, which Delfino has opted against doing. Even then, that’s not much. Players are much more exposed in nothing but jerseys and at risk for head-to-head or head-to-floor collisions on every play. Players like Gerald Wallace or Dwyane Wade are always at risk with their constant attacking styles. Wallace has suffered four concussions in his NBA career.
But even a guy like Delfino, whose forays to the rim are quite tame for NBA standards, is at risk. Hopefully after two weeks he’ll return to the Bucks lineup no worse for the wear and be done with concussions for good.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter. Then become a fan of Bucksketball on Facebook (to the right).