Brewers' Almonte cleared after concussion
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Brewers utility man Erick Almonte spent an entire week trying to rid himself of nausea and dizziness, symptoms of a concussion that landed him on the new seven-day disabled list.
Almonte returned to physical activity Monday after clearing his baseline test earlier in the day. The first player on the DL for concussions, Almonte said he flunked the test last week.
"I went to the doctor today to take the test, the memory test and I'm feeling much better. I guess now, I've got to start doing stuff, trying to get back to the field," Almonte said. "I took it last week ... I failed. But today, I went back and probably the last three or four days, that's when I feel free of pain and all the symptoms. Everything's gone away."
Almonte was hit in the head April 26 during Brewers batting practice when third baseman Craig Counsell threw a ball that hit him at first base. He still remembers nothing about the accident.
"I know what happened because guys told me. Counsell, he threw the ball because he thought I was looking," Almonte said. "Obviously I wasn't."
Almonte, who was 3 for 29 with a homer and three RBIs in 16 games, didn't travel with the team on its 10-game road trip and will not be ready to return before he'll be automatically transferred to the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.
"I've spent two weeks at home doing nothing," he said. "Just watching the games on TV. Well, the first week I didn't watch the games at all. I watched a little bit, then I just get really dizzy and I just shut it off.
"Like I said, the last four days have been really good, but just sitting there at the house, I was getting crazy."
Almonte will only ride an exercise bike to start in an effort to get his heart rate back up to make sure symptoms don't return. His only physical activity has been walking in an empty Miller Park a few times last week.
"You think too much, and try to remember stuff and why did this happen? All this stuff. I'm just anxious to get back on the field and help," Almonte said. "The first whole week I was nauseous. I don't have any appetite, I was eating soup, drinking the protein shakes that they gave me and just a lot of nausea. The first week was tough, but then after that, I was getting better, much better."
With a Grade 1 concussion, symptoms generally begin clearing in five to seven days, and it took Almonte a few extra days to feel better. A dark bruise remains on his forehead that he jokingly called a tattoo that Counsell should sign.
MLB and the players' union announced a new set of protocols just before the start of the season to deal with the head injuries, including the creation of the new seven-day disabled list to give team doctors and injured players more flexibility to address concussions.
Concussions have been a priority across professional sports leagues with the NFL imposing heavy fines and threatening suspensions for hits that were deemed illegal or dangerous last season, while the NHL has implemented new evaluation guidelines and banned blindside hits that target an opponent's head. The NBA is looking into establishing league-wide protocols this offseason.
MLB requires baseline testing for all players and umpires, and imposed new steps for evaluating players who may have suffered concussions and for having them return to action.
The seven-day disabled list is besides the 15- and 60-day DLs that already exist. Any player needing more than 14 days to recover is automatically transferred to the 15-day disabled list.
Almonte is more concerned about getting back to the field soon.
"The last four days have been great," Almonte said. "Everything's been good. Better, much better."
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