Jason LaRue Says His Career Is Over After Concussion Suffered in Brawl
LaRue told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch his career is finished, and sounded rather matter-of-fact about it.
"I'm done," he said. "It's a simple decision."
LaRue told the paper he probably has suffered "close to 20" concussions since his days as a high school football player in Texas, but the damage done by Cueto's kicks to the head at Great American Ball Park made it clear enough was enough.
Shortly after the brawl, LaRue found himself unable to drive or cook for himself, he said. Watching television or riding in a car for a short time brought on symptoms he likened to seasickness, and he suffered painful headaches and nausea. He has made progress since then but still can't undertake strenuous activities for fear of a flare-up.
If LaRue was an outfielder or at another position less susceptible to being hit in the head, he might have considered a return.
"But as a catcher you're so vulnerable to getting another (concussion)," he said. "All it takes a foul ball to the head. Even as a backup that happened 3-5 times last year. It's not a question of if it would happen again, it's when. Nobody can guarantee anything. It'll probably be worse.
"When I heard all that, I told them, 'You've answered all the questions I need answered.'"
Though the 36-year-old seems secure in the knowledge that walking away from the game is the unassailable right move, it doesn't mean he's pleased about the circumstances.
"I was going to retire on my own terms," LaRue said. "It's unfortunate that the blow that decided it came from someone kicking me in the head with spikes. I wouldn't say I would change things if you could rewrite history. They say things happen for certain reasons. In this case, I couldn't tell you why. Does it suck that my career is over because Johnny Cueto started kicking me in the head? Yes, it sucks.
"I expected to walk away when I felt it was right. The bottom line: it's unfortunate."
LaRue spent 12 seasons in the majors with the Reds, Royals and Cardinals.