During today’s edition of Brandon Belt’s weekly segment on 95.7 The Game, the first baseman described his current symptoms and his visit to Pittsburgh to consult with concussion specialist Michael “Micky” Collins. When Bochy told reporters yesterday that it would be at least two or three weeks before Belt resumed baseball activities, it didn’t sound good. At all.
However, based on what Belt told John Lund and Brodie Brazil, it sounds like things could’ve been a lot worse.
“(Collins) seems to think that this is not a big deal at all. He’s 100% sure that I’ll be good to go eventually. He’s not exactly sure when that’s going to be, because these things are pretty unpredictable. While I was there he put a three-week timeframe on it, to get all these visual problems fixed.” said Belt, who sounded confident he’ll return this season.
“I’m going to visit them at the end of that three weeks and hopefully I’ll get cleared. And when I do, I should be able to jump right back into baseball activities,” he said.
“Altogether it could be three or four weeks, but I’m definitely planning on playing this season and I definitely plan on being there when we go to the playoffs.”
The first concussion he remembered sustaining came in 2009, during his junior season at the University of Texas. He described what sounds like an extremely serious blow to the head that went pretty much untreated.
“I thought that one was worse than this. I got hit in the back of the head while I was playing. I was actually hitting and the pitcher hit me in the back of the head, right under the helmet. I don’t remember that happening. I lost consciousness. The symptoms were pretty bad. I actually played the next day and throughout the rest of the season, which lasted about another three weeks.
“It was very weird. You get in a state, it’s like a dream state. You know you’re there, but you’re not really all there. I thought that one was worse, but I feel like the symptoms are lingering longer than they did in the past. I don’t know if that’s because I had a previous concussion, or what. Now we know it’s mainly visual, so hopefully we can take care of it and move on.”
Belt will take care of it by doing visual exercises. He hit .190 in five games after coming back from his first concussion-related disabled list stint, but the fact that he picked up four hits (including a homer) is extraordinary given the symptoms that put him back on the DL for the third time this season.
“I have a problem with getting my eyes to converge and focus in on tracking stuff. I’m not able to track as well as I should, and that affects you when you’re playing baseball. If I was just having headaches or something like that, I probably wouldn’t think too much about it. I’d throw a couple Advil in and go play,” said Belt, who was driving during the interview (he assured the hosts that he was cleared to be behind the wheel).
In fact, Belt’s doctors told him to push through minor discomfort instead of going to a dark room when he feels woozy or his head starts to hurt. I don’t know much at all about concussions, but it’s interesting how those on the cutting edge of concussion research seem to believe that the brain is like a muscle in a sense, and one needs to “work” on getting over a concussion in ways similar to how athletes rehabilitate injuries to other parts of the body.