FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew isn’t sure when he will be ready to play in a game. But he feels reassured that his concussion is healing after seeing a specialist.
Drew was examined by Dr. Michael “Mickey” Collins at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Collins is a leader in the field of treating sports-related concussions.
“It was a positive,” Drew said of his visit. “It’s a good feeling for me, kind of getting on the road back to where I want to be. … These guys deal with it every day, Mickey is well known in the country. It’s reassuring because now we know what I’m dealing with.”
Red Sox manager John Farrell said Drew continued with normal activity after being cleared to play again, and while not ruling him out for Opening Day, it appears Drew will have problems getting enough at-bats to make it happen.
“It’s still undetermined,” Farrell said. “We get into the last eight days, we have to be sure an appropriate number of at-bats are had, but we haven’t ruled anything out yet. But we have to be realistic with the calendar.”
Drew was hit in the head by a pitch on March 7 and stayed in the game for another two innings. His concussion symptoms did not occur until that evening. He has been unable to play since.
“I never knew what a concussion really was. Going though it now, it ain’t no fun. You’re kind of in limbo out there, you know? You can’t really do nothing to make it better, it just takes time,” Drew said.
Drew said he felt dizzy, unbalanced, and unexpectedly tired.
“You can call it fogginess, a little spin feeling going on every now and then. That’s what I’m working through. It’s coming a long way,” he said. “When I started this, I was thinking [about being out] more of two or three days. Before too long it was like, ‘Man, what is going on here?’ But it’s a lot better scenario than it would have been.
“Where I’m at now, the tiredness is gone. Just now getting everything back in synch. The symptoms are there a little. Trying to knock that out as quick as possible.”
Collins gave Drew some exercises he can do with his eyes to improve his vision. Drew has been playing catch and hitting in the cage for the last two days. He is not yet ready to get on the field quite yet.
“I’ll know when I feel right. That’ll be the biggest key and when I do, I’ll move forward,” he said. “Good thing is I feel still in good shape. It’s a good thing.”
Drew, who never had a concussion before, has learned about how potentially serious and career threatening they can be.
“That’s kind of how the brain is. You have to let it heal up,” he said. “I’d like to say sooner or later it’ll be over with and look back and never have to deal with it again.”
Drew has no idea yet when he might be ready for the season. It’s a virtual certainty that he will open the year on the disabled list.
“It’s no good for the team or for me to go out there the way I feel now,” he said. “We have guys who can take care of it while this is going on. That’s a good thing.
“Do I want to go through this? No. Was it an unfortunate accident? Yeah. You don’t want to play around it. If I rush back and say well, I’m good and then a week later I’m starting to feel these symptoms, that would be good for nobody. But it’s come a long way.”
Drew said he doesn’t necessarily need a certain number of at-bats to get ready.
“It’s more in getting back in shape with your legs,” he said. “Sometimes it can be pretty quick.”