When any athlete suffers an injury, the normal reaction is to wonder when the player might return to action. We want to know the severity of the injury and how long it might be before this player is physically capable of being productive again.
But current concerns regarding Travis d'Arnaud extend beyond when he might rejoin the Braves’ lineup. The veteran catcher suffered his fourth reported concussion during a collision with the Padres’ Roughed Odor in the fourth inning of Saturday night’s game against the Padres.
d’Arnaud’s recovery will not be measured by how effective he might be when he is cleared to begin playing again. It will be measured by how this latest head injury affects his future away from the baseball field.
Yes, it will be great to see d’Arnaud get back to doing what allowed him to celebrate a World Series title in 2021 and an All-Star selection in 2022. But it will be even better to know many years from now, that this string of concussions didn’t negatively impact his quality of life.
“[Concussions] are all different,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “The fact he has had them before is probably concerning to the doctors. We’ll keep a good eye on him.”
Snitker has personal experience with the lingering long-term effects concussions can create. His son, Troy, who currently serves as one of the Astros’ hitting coaches, battled some lingering effects after his playing career ended.
“It’s something you don’t want to mess around with,” Snitker said. “When you start bruising your brain, it’s very concerning, especially for somebody who has had one before.”
d’Arnaud was diagnosed with his third concussion when he was hit by Alfonso Soriano’s backswing during the 2014 season. Before Saturday, he hadn’t suffered any other known head injuries. But with foul tips and plays at the plate, catchers are certainly more susceptible than any other player on the diamond.
With d’Arnaud sidelined, Sean Murphy will serve as the Braves’ primary catcher. Chadwick Tromp will try to take advantage of his latest big league opportunity. Tromp went 3-for-4 with two doubles in the only game he played for Atlanta last year. He competed for The Netherlands during the World Baseball Classic.
“He’s a very capable and reliable guy,” Snitker said of Tromp. “I like him a lot.”