MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Good news for Twins fans: Justin Morneau played four innings at first base Friday and said he felt normal.
Morneau struck out in his first at-bat, but then reached base on an error after lifting a fly ball to left field, before being pulled from the game.
Morneau is trying to come back from a concussion he suffered last summer. It’s something a former Twin knows all about that.
“I remember walking up to the plate, thinking OK which way do I run again?” said Corey Koskie.
It sounds almost funny now, but there was nothing funny about what Koskie was going through after he suffered a concussion during a Major League baseball game.
“Headache, nausea, dizziness — you just kind of go down the chain. I had it all,” said Koskie.
Koskie was playing third base for the Milwaukee Brewers when he chased a little flare. He dove and landed awkwardly.
“I just look at the film today … and I think, how could I have gotten hurt from that one?”
But hurt he was — so much so that it ended his career.
Friday Koskie spoke to a group of more than 700 athletic trainers at the Hilton in Minneapolis for their national symposium. He told them about the injury, and the three plus years it took for him to recover.
“It’s not like years ago when coach would say you got your bell rung, get back in the game. That’s not appropriate care for a head injury and should never be done,” said Marjorie Albohm, president of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association.
It’s a sports injury that’s become all too common in every sport. Brett Favre suffered one against the Bears, and a check by Zdanno Charra of the Boston Bruins on the Montreal Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty, led to a concussion and broken vertebrae. And of course, there’s Morneau’s concussion.
“I’ve talked to Justin … he’s called me many times and he’s frustrated and wants to know why this hasn’t this gotten better,” said Koskie.
Koskie’s message is that no two concussions are the same and all are severe. The similarities between Morneau and Koskie are uncanny. Both were born in Canada and love hockey. Both came up through the Twins’ organization. And both have suffered career threatening concussions. Koskie is just hoping Morneau’s concussion doesn’t take as long to heal.
“I’m glad to see that he’s back out there. I hope he’s feeling good … I hope he is truly feeling good and doesn’t rush himself back,” said Koskie.
Koskie said that the hardest thing for pro-athletes to do is to wait for concussion symptoms to go away.
Many try to return too fast, and that makes them susceptible to brain injuries.