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Concussions and their risks to players are in the news on an almost daily basis. What isn’t covered as frequently is that officials are at similar, if not greater risk, because we often have less protective gear than players. In Referee’s feature Watch Your Head we examined what is being done at every level to identify, evaluate and protect officials from head trauma.

Officials are taking the risk seriously. ESPN is reporting that MLB Umpire Dale Scott is cutting his career short to avoid further concussions. The veteran crew chief missed nearly the entire 2017 season after a foul ball off the bat of Baltimore slugger Mark Trumbo in Toronto on April 14 caught him hard in the mask, causing Scott’s second concussion in nine months and fourth in five years.

Referee Magazine wrote an extensive feature on Scott detailing out his rise, fall and redemption as a Major League umpire that was one of our most popular ever. His grit and determination to improve have been an inspiration to many umpires who have faced similar trials.

The concern for safety and health is just one of the many issues that are causing a historic shortage of officials across the country in every sport and at every level. Those issues will be the focal point of the 2018 Sports Officiating Summit in New Orleans. Recruitment and retention of officials will be examined from every angle, under the umbrella theme for the event: Say YES to Officiating. All officials and officiating leaders are encouraged to attend.

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Note: This article is archival in nature. Rules, interpretations, mechanics, philosophies and other information may or may not be correct for the current year.

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