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Tales from Tito: Concussion hazards of riding shotgun for Indians manager

By Marla Ridenour Published: May 29, 2014

Indians manager Terry Francona hopes he never has to have an advanced brain scan because of all the concussions he had as a kid and the horror stories and magazine articles he’s heard and read since. He estimates he suffered four or five and added there are probably a couple more he didn’t know about.

“I got so many. It scares me,” Francona admitted Wednesday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field before a game against the Chicago White Sox. He was discussing the protocol third baseman/catcher Carlos Santana is going through on the seven-day concussion disabled list when his personal experience came up.

“I got hit a couple times playing ball when I was a kid. One I was out, I didn’t know how I got home, a really bad one,” Francona said. “I got hit a couple times playing basketball, rebounding, I’d get elbows in the head.”

But the one he remembers most can be filed under the category of crazy things teenagers do. He said he dove into the front seat of a car on the way to a high school baseball game.

“You know how everybody yells ‘Shotgun!’ Some (knucklehead) came in the other way and his knee hit me in the head,” Francona said, warning his audience what was to come was scary. “The whole way to the game I was nauseous. But you’re 18. When I started to run I actually felt better because it was relieving pressure. So the coach played me the whole game because I told him, ‘I feel better when I run.’

“My dad drove me home and I had my head out the window the entire drive throwing up. Can you imagine if I’d have gotten hit in the head in that game?”

That’s why Francona might some day say no to tests.

“I don’t think I want to know,” he said. “As long as I can reel it together between 7 and 10, I’m good to go. The coaches will take care of me the rest of the time.”
 

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