Charles Henderson players recovering after head injuries

Published 10:41 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Even though baseball might not be as physical as football or basketball that doesn’t mean that you won’t ever see an injury take place.

Just ask Charles Henderson junior varsity players Kenyatta Jones and Cole Wilson, who each recently suffered head injuries while playing.

Jones was struck by a fastball in the face while batting in a game, and Wilson was struck in the head while on the mound during practice when a batted ball was returned at him.

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Although both players were sent in for tests and x-rays, Jones suffered only a concussion and some swelling, while Wilson faced skull fractures with bruises on the brain which have knocked him out for the season.

“I didn’t really feel anything at first,” Wilson said. “We went to the hospital and then I was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham. I had a skull fracture with bruises on my brain and I’ll be out for about three months. There isn’t really any treatment I just can’t play baseball or P.E. but I can still throw a little.”

Wilson’s injury happened before the season began while he was brought in to pitch for the varsity at practice, and had he not been injured would have most likely been a starter on the JV lineup.

The luckier of the two, Jones’ X-rays revealed that he got away without any broken bones and only a concussion, and was cleared to return to practice once the swelling in his face subsided.

“It’s a blessing I’m happy I can come back out and play,” he said. “I started back on Monday and it’s not really affected me I’ll just have to try and get out of the way faster next time, but the injury hasn’t changed how I play the game.”

While injuries resulting from player contact are somewhat common, (Jones also broke a finger while playing tournament ball when a first baseman stepped on his hand) direct hits by baseballs are more of a rarity.

“Concussions happen in football more and you don’t see it as much in baseball,” Charles Henderson head athletic trainer Dave Bush said. “It was kind of a freak accident to have two similar injuries happen so close together. In the six years I’ve been here it was the first time I’ve ever seen a pitcher hit by a pitch coming back.”

In accordance with a new AHSAA policy put into place last fall, any player who suffers a concussion cannot return to play until they’ve been cleared by a physician.

Along with that, many programs won’t allow a player to return to play until the can go a certain amount of time without showing any symptoms.

For now, Wilson will have to sit the season out until such a time as he has been cleared, with Jones already back in his place on the team, though both are expected to have no further problems.

“I think both guys are going to be fine,” Bush said. “I haven’t seen anything that’s going to cause further problems in the future. Cole’s injury was more severe with it coming off another player’s bat but he seems to be progressing on schedule and doing fine. I think the biggest thing for him is having to watch his team and not being able to go out and play.”

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