Dickerson ready to go for Curve

It was a routine groundball hit to first. It ended with an ambulance parked next to first.

Alex Dickerson’s season was starting to turn around, and for just the second time since May 1, he entered a game – the Curve’s May 19 contest with Richmond – hitting above .200.

And after doubling in his first at-bat, Dickerson hit a ball to Flying Squirrels first baseman Ricky Oropesa.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Oropesa picked the ball up and took it to first himself. Meanwhile, Dickerson, 6-3 and 235 pounds, charged up the line, trying to beat it out.

The two collided, and Dickerson got the worst of it.

“To tell you the truth, I did go out a second,” Dickerson, who suffered a concussion, said. “I woke up, I felt all right. I felt a little dazed.”

Seeing an ambulance on the field is uncommon in baseball, and Dickerson was tended to for about 18 minutes.

“It looked more scary than it actually was or felt,” he said. “I was knocked out, and you bring an ambulance out, as they should have.”

With growing concern over concussions, an ambulance was called. But just a few years ago, it may have not been called, and Dickerson may not have had to sit out at least a week.

Concussions and the steps taken after they happen have come a long way.

“It is nice to have all those things to keep you reassured,” Dickerson, who was taken to a Richmond hospital, said.

One of the biggest concerns with contact sports is the long-term effect of concussions, especially when they pile up. While Dickerson said this concussion wasn’t severe, he suffered a more serious one in his junior year at Indiana.

Dickerson ran to catch a ball and lost track of where he was in the outfield and smashed into a fence. Compared to his most recent one, he said that concussion was “pretty bad.”

One of the differences was Dickerson’s recovery.

“I ended up playing about a week later but still didn’t feel right,” he said.

According to Dickerson and Curve manager Carlos Garcia, the outfielder should be back in the lineup on Monday – the same day he comes off the seven-day disabled list.

“Right now he has overcome the steps,” Garcia said. “He’s clear now from the medical staff. He went through the challenge. Everybody says he is good to go in a few days.”

Before he could be cleared to play, Dickerson was forced to take the ImPACT test, which is administered when a player is healthy and again any time he suffers a concussion. He must pass the baseline score he recorded on the original to be cleared.

“It’s good to have just to make sure we are safe,” Dickerson said of the precautions like the ambulance and tests. “Baseball is definitely not as big a concussion sport as everywhere else.”

The concussion was something the third-round draft pick in 2008 didn’t need. He was having a tough time adjusting to Double-A, hitting .183 on May 3 before improving to .212.

Dickerson said he wasn’t in rhythm with his body but had just found the fix when the concussion occurred.

“It was a piece of my body that stopped working in my swing,” he said. “I was just kind of dumb-founded on how to adjust to it over a month. I finally felt it, and it was an immediate [fix].”

Dickerson had hits in nine of 11 games before the injury. Besides his batting average, another thing of concern is the long-term effect of concussions, although Dickerson feels the steps in place could be beneficial to his future.

“There is already enough news stories out there to kind of scare you enough,” he said. “You know if you aren’t [OK], you aren’t going to be dishonest with a doctor these days.”