MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Twins star Joe Mauer is describing the extremely rough time he had, dealing with a season-ending concussion.
The injury caused enough concern that it forced Mauer’s move from catcher to first base.
Mauer sat down for a candid one-one-one interview Tuesday with WCCO’s Mark Rosen.
Mauer said the rigors of catching would eventually force him to play another position, he just wasn’t ready for it to happen so soon.
Mauer is the latest high-profile athlete whose career was suddenly put in jeopardy because of a concussion, and accepting that reality wasn’t initially an easy sell to him.
“I think I was trying to find somebody to tell me it would be OK to go back there and catch,” he said. “But it was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make, but also one of the easiest. One, for my health, for the organization, I can’t afford to be missing that much time.”
Mauer first felt the symptoms the day after taking two foul tips in the catcher’s mask when he was fielding ground balls in pre-game drills in Detroit. He was already experiencing headaches and sensitivity to noise and light, so he took his uniform off and took a painful ride back to the hotel.
“I’ll never forget that cab ride home from Comerica Park. They told me, ‘You have a concussion. Go home. Get some rest.’ Things like that and you know, cab rides probably don’t have the greatest suspension, or anything like that, but it felt like I was in a rollercoaster. I mean, I think I shut my eyes the whole way home because the lights were just so intense and the noise. It was probably the worst half hour that I can remember.”
Mauer has just resumed his off-season workouts saying he’s symptom-free. In the meantime, he’s spending the rest of his time just being dad to his now 4-month-old twin girls.
“Wow, well we’re playing man-to-man defense here,” he said, with a laugh. “We’ve got two of them so it kind of varies. One thing that’s pretty consistent, and it’s probably one of the things I like the least, is washing bottles. And you’d be amazed at how many bottles we go through. Every three hours and the twins … that’s probably my least favorite duty as a dad.”
Mauer joked about receiving plenty of “how to raise your kids” advice from his well-intended mother and mother-in-law but like any other instructions he’s received on and off the field, Mauer has patiently listened and relied on his own instincts through trial and error.
The move to first base is a move that should keep him on the field for the vast majority of the 162 games next season.