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Major League Baseball Renames 'Disabled List' to 'Injured List' After Advocacy Efforts

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After a successful effort from disability advocacy groups, Major League Baseball (MLB) has renamed its “disabled list” to the “injured list.”

MLB introduced the injured list in 1966 as a way to move injured players off the active roster without removing them from the team. Today, each team is allowed a 25-player active roster and a 40-player expanded roster. The expander roster is made up of all players eligible to be on the active roster, including players on the injured list. Players typically remain on the injured list for anywhere between seven to 60 days, depending on the injury. 

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Changing the name of the list was championed by Link 20, a group of young advocates that work with the Ruderman Family Foundation to foster inclusion and promote social change. The group wrote a letter to Robert Manfred, the Major League Baseball commissioner. They wrote:

Using the term ‘Disabled List’ for players who are injured reinforces the belief that people with disabilities are injured and therefore are not able to participate or compete in any sports. This perception is misleading and incorrect and has the unfortunate connotation that people with disabilities cannot take part in any professional sports. As we all know, there are many professional athletes with disabilities in all major sports in the US and in the world.

Jeff Pfeifer, senior director of league economics and operations, announced the name change in a memo to MLB teams on Dec. 20, 2018, according to ESPN. League officials say the change more accurately reflects the purpose of the list and moves away from suggesting people with disabilities can’t play sports. 

“MLB’s announcement to terminate the use of the word disabled describing the list of players who are injured or unable to play is an example of our determination to get better off the field in the same way we try to improve on the field”, Billy Bean, vice president and special assistant to the commissioner, said.

The new name will be used for both minor and major leagues. 

Header image via Jose Francisco Morales/Unsplash.

Originally published: February 8, 2019
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