Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chad Fairchild Suffers Concussion, Sits Out as Precaution

Concussion Alert: Umpire Chad Fairchild took a fastball to the face mask during Wednesday's Rockies-Phillies game, remaining in the contest despite the direct shot from the Jeremy Guthrie sinker, which missed the batter's bat and catcher's glove, careening directly into Fairchild's protective headgear at 95 miles per hour.

MLB Umpire Chad Fairchild
Fortunately, the face mask served its protective purpose and absorbed most of the pitch's impact, redirecting the ball's kinetic energy by twisting off of Fairchild's head and onto the ground as Chad staggered backwards due to the severe force of the impact.

When umpires Alfonso Marquez and crew chief Tom Hallion rushed in to check on Fairchild, they were met by the Phillies' training personnel, who determined Fairchild was fit to continue and conclude the contest, which had stopped for the injury delay with a 2-2 count and two outs in the bottom of the 7th inning.

After ensuring Fairchild was alright, Hallion addressed Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario, appearing to instruct the Colorado sophomore, "You've got to catch that ball," as manager Jim Tracy came out of the dugout to investigate the odd conference between third base umpire and catcher at home plate.

Rosario and Guthrie were seen discussing their signs after the play, suggesting that Rosario likely was fooled on the wayward 2-1 pitch, admitting that he expected a slider away instead of a sinker in.

On Thursday, Fairchild was absent from Hallion's crew as a precaution concerning the potentially severe implications of returning to work too soon after enduring a concussion. AAA call-up umpire David Rackley filled in for Fairchild at third base during the Rockies' 4-1 victory over Philadelphia.

In 2011, MLB and the players' and umpires' unions adopted a universal concussion policy, which established a procedure for any player or umpire who suffers a head injury during a baseball event. According to the policy, ball clubs must submit a "Return to Play" form to MLB's medical director, Dr. Gary Green, on behalf of each and every player who suffers or is suspected to have suffered a concussion during play.

As for umpires, their process is fairly similar. Director of Umpire Medical Services Mark Letendre served as an MLB trainer with the Giants and Yankees for 18 years before joining the MLB Executive Office as the resident umpire trainer. In that role, Letendre is responsible for drafting the umpires' "Return to Play" forms. Medical consultant to Major League umpires Steven Erickson, MD, has also been involved with umpire head injuries. Erickson, a Fellow in the American College of Physicians (FACP), is the head team physician at Arizona State University and has specialized experience concerning sports medicine and the Return to Play/Work issue involving mild traumatic brain injury.

No one plays until Green & MLB approve the "Return to Play" form, clearing the player or umpire for activity.

Video: Fairchild Takes 95 mph Hit Directly to Face Mask, Remains in Game
Wrap: Colorado at Philadelphia, 6/20/12 (Fairchild's plate game)
Wrap: Colorado at Philadelphia, 6/21/12 (Rackley at third base in place of Fairchild)

26 comments :

Turducken said...

Ugh, killing the fantasy team.

Anonymous said...

Why catchers and plate umpires don't wear the hockey goalie masks is beyond me.

Anonymous said...

Didn't realize that MLB was getting so advanced with the concussion criteria. Good for them, those are nasty injuries and it is beneficial to wait and see how Fairchild's specific head trauma will play out before rushing him back onto a baseball diamond. Keep him out for observation, let him have some time off like Kerwin Danley did after getting knocked out at Dodger Stadium by that Brad Penny fastball. I know it doesn't seem as bad (fairchild was conscious the whole time), but with head and neck injuries, it sometimes takes a few days for side effects to manifest.

Anonymous said...

Because it has been proven that the hockey goalie style masks provide no extra protection from a direct hit like that. They only provide extra protection on the side for example if a broken bat came around and hit the umpire.

MattAB said...

@Anon 10:46
I think that there have been some conflicting studies on the subject, and most are not considered too reliable, often because of how the studies were conducted. I will say, personally, I wear a Wilson Shock FX 2.0 helmet when I work the plate and I absolutely love that thing. But I can certainly see how they wouldn't be for everyone, especially if you are accustomed to the traditional mask. What gets me is I'm still surprised that there are so many umps who don't wear an extended throat piece. However, I have noticed many MLB/AAA guys adding it in the last couple of years, including Adrian Johnson, Chris Conroy, and, coincidentally, Chad Fairchild. It's good to see MLB taking head injuries seriously, and hopefully Chad gets well soon.

Jimmy Jack said...

Rough injury. I wear the full bucket, though a direct shot is a direct shot and with the hockey goalie helmet, there is no twist off to dispel forces of the center screen hit. Still, the only downside of the bucket is the weight on the left hand, at least for me.

Big Marc said...

Jimmy try keeping it on more, instead of holding it in your hand, That's what I do, and your rite it's awkward in your hand. I mean you call 300 pitches in a game with it on, I don't see the problem calling 35-45 (75%) of the wide open out calls with it on your head, maybe I'm wrong.

I'm not saying I know shit about concussions, I just had my 1st concussion training in nearly 30yrs this year, but from what I took away from it was, your are to immediately stop the activity, or sport to allow the brain to begin healing. It was suggested that the moments directly after the impact are most important.

I'll stop, as like I said I'm new to this, but my point would be, shouldn't Chad have come out of the game, right away?

Jeff said...

I have an idea...how 'bout a major league catcher getting a little bit of leather on the baseball?...just a thought...

Anonymous said...

Is it me, or what, but there are a few umpires who have had a lot of mllb call-up experience, e.g. John Tumpane, that are not being called up this year?

mnhopper1s said...

There are conflicting reports on the hockey style or traditional style being better. Personally I wore the hockey style as a catcher and if I were to umpire that's probably what I would want to wear.

While the hockey style does not twist off, it is said that it deflects the ball rather than fully absorbing the blow.

Russ said...

Tumpane, Ripperger, Lollo, Fagan and Funnemann have not appeared in an MLB game this season and Rackley has only appeared in a few games and has not even had a plate job yet. We have seen the usual suspects Porter, Carapazza, Estabrook, Muchlinski, Blaser and Reyburn. It seems like we have seen a lot more Gonzalez, Conroy and L.Barrett recently and I have been very impressed with all three. We have also seen a decrease with Angel Campos. He worked a ton of games in April but has only worked 9 games in May/June combined. I don't have a god feeling about that one. It would surprise me at all to see him let go in the near future, he is just not MLB material. It will be interesting who the next couple of hires are as it seems like there is a bigger pool than years before. I think the next 5 hires in no particular order are Estabrook,Muchlinski, Reyburn, Porter and Carapzza with Conroy and Blaser not to far behind. Carapazza got a lot of flack on this site last season but he has improved tremenously this season. If you look at his pitch fx's during this season they aren't that bad and he has not ejected anyone all season. One of the main complaints abput him last season was a quick trigger but tha seems to have dissapeared at least so far. What do you guys think about the Triple A call-ups and who get the next couple of spots?

Anonymous said...

Wow, what is with the catcher on this? You see an umpire hit by a raw pitch like this now and then, but the catcher is typically very apologetic and goes right to the umpire to hold them up/make sure they are ok. There are no runners on and Rosario's only concern seems to be where the baseball ended up. He doesn't go anywhere near Fairchild, even though Fairchild is struggling to stay up. Was he just going to let him fall? I can understand why Hallion felt the need to iterate to Rosario that he needs to catch that.

Anonymous said...

Russ,

Here is my guess as to what will happen with new hires. In the next four seasons I predict about six openings with McClelland, Hirschbeck, Cousins, Davis, West and Davidson retiring or very close to it. Judging by the way they are using the replacement umps this year I would predict that Porter and Carapazza have the next two open slots. I would concur that Angel Campos will not be promoted and will be dropped after this season. One thing working against Conroy is his age as he will turn 38 next month and they rarely hire anyone in their 40's which I think Conroy might be by the time he has enough experience as before this season he had only worked 83 games. I think Reyburn and Estabrook have a very good chance at being the 3rd and 4th in line to be hired.
Tyler Funnemann may have resigned from the PCL as he has not worked in a week and they moved Clint Fagan over to be a crew chief on his crew. The PCL also just brought up 2 umpires from double A ball last week.
One umpire to watch for in the near future is Adam Hamari. I believe he may shortly be on the fast track ala Bellino, Porter and Carapazza.

Jon Terry said...

Confirmed. Tyler Funnemann is through. I know Clint Fagan, and he was present for Tyler's last game.

That's a pretty brutal shot. What was the catcher thinking?

I still wear a MacGregor B29 mask. Most people think it's pretty heavy, but I trust it completely, enough to have two of them.

Russ said...

Is it common that Umpires resign/get fired in the middle of the season in Triple A? Do you know why Tyler was fired/resigned? For this recent week Mike Jarboe has been the new Crew Chief with Fagan moving over to Funnemann's crew. Not sure if that is permanent or not. The number 2 on Funnemann's crew is Chris Segal. Either they brought in Fagan as a week thing, maybe to guide Segal or the PCL would rather Jarboe be a Crew Chief than Segal.

Anonymous said...

Russ,

Segal was not the 2 man on Funnemans crew. He has been moved over to another crew with Fagan taking Funnemans spot as chief. A rookie has taken Segals place as 3 man on the crew. I have heard that funneman has taken up a new job.

UmpsRule said...

Jerry Layne left the game in Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

FAirchild, layne, We are losing umpires folks due to injury and fast

Anonymous said...

Is time to wear the mask that Tim welke wears. He changed it for one reason. It's when he got hit in Anaheim. 8/24/09 funny enough Chad fairchild was playing first base at that game. Mark carlson at second and Jim wolf at third

Anonymous said...

Campos replacing bell in chicago (white sox) and Bell is replacing Derryl Cousins

Anonymous said...

In TEX ^ Didn't Layne get badly hurt in 2007 royals v yankees?

Anonymous said...

I think Wally Bell is going to be the next crew chief announced. He was a fill-in crew chief for John Hirshbeck for the last few seasons. The only problem I see for him being named crew chief is his open-heart suurgery in 1999, but that really should not be a factor.

Anonymous said...

looks like lollo is going to be in for layne the rest of the series

Anonymous said...

I like how Tracy is more concerned with what Hallion is saying to the catcher. It's why all umpires should carry cheese in their ball bags.

Anonymous said...

Well what do you expect the manager to do about it? The athletic training staff is handling the injured umpire.. nothing for the manager to do. Meanwhile his player is getting chewed out? You bet he's going to be concerned about that!

Anonymous said...

And the fact that Wally is pushing 330lbs.....

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