Posted June 12, 2012 on AP on Fox
Orioleswhite_sox_ab92
Soon after a concussion interrupted his baseball career, Brian Roberts was more concerned with simply living a normal life than returning to the game he loves. ''There were times throughout the process that the future looked so bleak,'' the Baltimore Orioles second baseman said Tuesday, hours before he was to play his first major league game in 13 months. Roberts sustained a concussion while sliding into first base in a game against the Boston Red Sox on May 16, 2011. He had been sidelined before with a concussion, but this one was far more severe. Burdened with headaches and dizziness, the two-time All-Star wondered if he would ever be able to do many of the simple things that most people take for granted. ''I haven't started a family yet, I haven't had kids yet. I have a wife that I want to love and support the rest of my life, and all those things take physical abilities to be able to do,'' he said. ''Baseball is important and my contract is important, things like that. But I would hope people would understand that was No. 1.'' The symptoms finally subsided, and now, after a lengthy rehabilitation that included a stint in the minor leagues, the 34-year-old Roberts is ready to be a baseball player again. Baltimore activated Roberts from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday, optioned infielder Steve Tolleson to Triple-A Norfolk and transferred outfielder Nolan Reimold (back) to the 60-day DL. Without a moment of hesitation, manager Buck Showalter penciled Roberts into his customary spot atop the batting order. ''A lot of guys with the challenges that Brian's faced might have packed it in,'' Showalter said. ''But he loves to play. He loves the game of baseball and loves the Orioles. I wouldn't deny him the ability to do anything. There's a little emotional lift for us getting him back. We've had a void in the leadoff spot for a while.'' Roberts couldn't begin to explain how uplifting it felt to be back in the clubhouse as part of the Orioles. ''Just excited to be here, to walk into the locker room, and not just see the guys and feel like you're one of them again,'' he said. ''For a long time, I didn't feel that way and today, I do, finally.'' Over the past year, Roberts spent more time with his doctor than with his teammates. Dr. Micky Collins, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program, always had confidence that Roberts would play baseball again. Well, sort of. ''If I said I didn't have any doubt, I'd be lying,'' Collins said. ''There some tough times. But in my gut, I thought this day would come.'' Collins treats thousands of high school students for concussions on a yearly basis, and also provided treatment for Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby. But because no two cases are exactly alike, Collins treated Roberts unlike all the rest. ''You're dealing with the brain, so there are different issues,'' Collins said. ''You have to measure the individual.'' At the outset, Collins didn't think about preparing Roberts to play baseball. ''It's an incredibly frustrating process. Sports was not ever on the radar,'' Collins said. ''He was in a dark place. But now, I'm proud and excited of where he's at. He feels confident. It's a special time.'' Collins had lunch with Roberts on Tuesday and intended to be at the game that night. There's no telling what lies ahead for Roberts, who loves to dive for balls and slide head-first into any base. ''I think the head-first dive will come when it's right, at the right time on the bases,'' he said, ''but I'm also not going to say that I'm not going to consider sliding feet-first more than I used to.'' Asked to consider the biggest challenge moving forward, Roberts replied, ''"Let's hope getting hit in the head isn't one. I'd be happy to stay away from having to clear that hurdle, I guess, but other than that, there's not a whole lot of mental hurdles I have to clear. ''The only thing left to do is get out and play in a major league game. That's the only thing I haven't done. There's going to be a different amount of excitement and energy involved in that, which will be the very last thing I think I'll have to overcome.'' He joins a club that has been one of the biggest surprises of the year. After struggling through 14 straight losing seasons, the Orioles are contenders in the AL East. ''Hopefully I can come back and add something to the team,'' he said. ''I'm so thankful to have the opportunity to run back out there one more time. For a long time, I never thought that that would actually happen.''
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Roberts returns to Orioles after 13-month layoff

Brian Roberts has returned to the Baltimore Orioles after being out for 13 months with a concussion. The Orioles planned to activate the two-time All-Star second baseman from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday. He was penciled into the lineup at his customary leadoff spot against the Pittsburgh Pirates - although wet weather threatened to delay Roberts' season debut for at...

Orioles' Roberts set to return after year-long absence

Many thought he'd never play again, yet barring a last-minute setback, second baseman Brian Roberts is due to return to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. Roberts, who suffered a concussion in September 2010 and another in May 2011, wrapped up his rehab assignment Sunday and is expected to rejoin the 25-man roster Tuesday after spending the past year on the disabled list. ...

Was Brian Roberts The Best AL Second Baseman Of The Aughts?

Brian Roberts is set to play tonight for the first time in 13 months, so what better time to dust off some three-year-old, half-baked research? I put this together in the fall of 2009 to see where B-Rob ranked among the best 2B of the past decade, and I don’t know why I didn’t post it then. But here it is, the top 2B of the ’00s ranked by WAR (with OPS+ and plate appearances...

Brain Roberts returns

On Wednesday Brian Roberts completed a long road back from injury making his first start with the Orioles since May 16, 2011. I never thought I would be writing those words this year. I honestly doubted I would ever write those words again. Brian Roberts' recovery was so long and his body seemed so delicate this spring that I never thought he would get back to Camden Yards....

At long last, Roberts returns for O's

ORIOLES IN THE NEWS Nolan Reimold, who started out the season on fire, looking like he was going to be a mixed league force in the outfield, continues to linger on the sidelines with that herniated disk in his neck (the pain has subsided, but there is still weakness in the area). Tuesday he was moved from the 15 day DL to the 60 day DL pushing back his return to action even farther...

The Return of Brian Roberts

Last night, the Orioles won their third straight game in a row as they defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in interleague action, by a score of 8-6. Wei-Yin Chen (6-2) won another game – he went 6 1/3 innings, gave up four runs, Adam Jones had four hits, along with his 18th homer of the year; in addition, Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis went deep. Jim Johnson got his 19th save of the...

Orioles 8, Pirates 6

Brian Roberts returned from a 13-month layoff to get three hits and an RBI, and the Baltimore Orioles homered three times in an 8-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game, Roberts went 3 for 4 with a sacrifice fly. Playing in the majors for the first time since sustaining a concussion on May 16, 2011, Baltimore...

Injury updates: Roberts, Ogando and Fister

Here's a running list with injury updates around the Major Leagues: – Second baseman Brian Roberts could rejoin the Orioles tomorrow according to Roch Kubatko of MASN. The decision depends on whether Roberts experiences any setbacks today while playing in the Orioles' Triple-A team or not. “I don't know,”manager Buck Showalter said. “I'm not sure how he felt...

MLB gets stringent with concussions

Football remains the flash point for the still-evolving discussion of concussions and brain injuries in American sports. Last week saw the latest development, as litigation involving thousands of former players coalesced into a master complaint against the NFL. The issue is less prevalent in baseball, where the risk of neurologic injury is dramatically lower. But the awareness of...

RotoWire MLB Circling the Bases

ORIOLES IN THE NEWS Nolan Reimold, who started out the season on fire, looking like he was going to be a mixed league force in the outfield, continues to linger on the sidelines with that herniated disk in his neck (the pain has subsided, but there is still weakness in the area). Tuesday he was moved from the 15 day DL to the 60 day DL pushing back his return to action even farther...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.