Brian Roberts | Professional Baseball Player
For 14 seasons as a professional baseball player, Brian Roberts knew his sport played a vital role in his life. But he didn’t know how vital until two concussions seemed to take baseball from him. After a strikeout in a 2010 game, Roberts banged his bat against his helmet and sustained his first concussion. “A self-inflicted wound,” he joked. “Not the way to go out.”
In early 2011, while sliding head first, Brian sustained his second concussion and his symptoms intensified: dizziness, nausea, feeling disoriented. Multiple physicians advised him to retire, at age 33. Instead, he went to see Micky Collins, PhD, and the team of experts at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program. Following tests and evaluation, Dr. Collins established that Brian’s concussion affected his vestibular system, which integrates balance, vision and motion sensory. To rehabilitate Brian and get him back to baseball, the UPMC team developed a rehab plan of exercises and activities that eventually helped Brian eliminate those symptoms and restore his vestibular function. He was cleared to play and returned to start at second base in mid-2012.
Brian’s experience at the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program taught him that some of his personal and physical health background, such as multiple concussions and a history of car-sickness, complicated his recovery process. His rehabilitation program allowed him to overcome the complexities of his concussions.
“Unfortunately, even after 10 years in professional sports, I still didn’t know a whole lot about concussions — since I never had one,” Brian says. “But in September 2010, all of that changed instantly and dramatically when I suffered my first one.”
“After my second one in 2011, Dr. Collins and UPMC gave me the guidance and the wisdom and the rehabilitation that I needed to understand what was going on physically and emotionally, and have a chance to return to professional sports. Besides my wife, I can’t think of anyone more instrumental than Dr. Collins was in my recovery. Just the amount of time he took, the amount of encouragement, his knowledge, all of those things… he has meant a lot to me as a friend and certainly as a great doctor, as well.”
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