Risking Chase Utley Not Worth the Reward

We've learned a lot about concussions and head injuries in sports over the last few years.

Flyers fans surely remember Eric Lindros' issues in that regard, football has changed rules to protect players from serious injury and Justin Morneau's promising career has come to a screeching halt thanks to a concussion he suffered last season. We've learned about prevention, we've learned about ways to limit recurrence and we've learned just how damaging those injuries can be.

That's why the Phillies are doing absolutely the right thing by keeping Chase Utley in Philadelphia as they open a series in Milwaukee that can all but end the chances of the Brewers nabbing home field in the playoffs.

Utley took a pitch to the head from Eric O'Flaherty on Wednesday night and was removed from the game after telling Charlie Manuel that he had a headache. That was the first smart step and the second was refusing to let Utley on the flight to Milwaukee so he could undergo tests that determine whether or not he sustained a concussion or if his head hurt for other reasons associated with getting in the way of a baseball. 

If it leads to a loss or two or three, so be it. It would be nice to bury the Brewers here, guaranteeing home field and sending a message in one fell swoop, but life goes on even if the Phillies lose all four games. The Phillies are still going to the playoffs and winning there is going to require a healthy Utley.

If Utley did suffer a concussion, there's not much the Phillies can do right now to help him get better. It will have its impact on his brain and he'll have to ride it out until the symptoms subside. All the Phillies can do is make sure that things aren't worse than they need to be. So that's why you don't put him on an airplane Wednesday night and why you make sure he does nothing more than what's absolutely necessary physically for the next few days.

That might not be good enough to get Utley back -- that's something else we've learned about head injuries -- but it is the best the Phillies can do for themselves and for their player. You can't ask for anything more.

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