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OUR VIEW: Baseball right to ban home plate collisions

Major League Baseball took a great step in the right direction recently when it announced it will ban collisions at home plate, possibly starting with the upcoming season.

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The more we learn about concussions, the more we realize they are a serious problem in sports. On the local level, we too often hear that one athlete or another has been held out due to potential concussions, including at least two Mitchell High School football players this past season.

It’s a problem that needs to be fixed from the top down. Until professional sports show that concussions really are an issue, kids won’t believe it themselves.

The National Football League has been dragged — almost kicking and screaming, unfortunately — into the debate. Now, Major League Baseball is finally heading in the right direction with last week’s announcement about home-plate collisions.

For decades, it’s been legal for a base-runner to intentionally smash into a catcher during plays at the plate. Most often, the catcher is vulnerable, since he’s usually awaiting a throw from a teammate.

Some of the resulting injuries have been gruesome. In 1970, Pete Rose famously crashed into catcher Ray Fosse during the midsummer All-Star Game. Fosse’s career never rebounded.

In 2011, Giants catcher Buster Posey sustained a broken leg in a collision with Florida Marlins runner Scott Cousins. Detroit catcher Alex Avila was injured in last October’s American League playoffs.

The collisions should be outlawed based upon the potential for all categories of injuries, but really, it’s about concussions.

The more we learn about concussions the more we realize that their long-term effect can be detrimental to players, and especially those players who suffer multiple concussions during their playing days.

Here in South Dakota, intentional collisions are outlawed in every level of baseball, from youth up to amateur. It wasn’t always that way, but it is now.

Still, kids need to see that their heroes and role models are held to the same rules and standards.

Good for Major League Baseball for figuring that out.