Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy holds his head after being hit with a line… (Doug Duran / MCT )
The injury to Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Angels shortstop Erick Aybar on Wednesday, was more serious than anyone initially believed, according to one doctor.
McCarthy, who walked off the field under his own power after being struck, suffered a fractured skull and underwent emergency surgery Thursday.
Dr. Geoffrey Manley, the vice chairman of neurological surgery at UC San Francisco, told the San Francisco Chronicle that bone fragments from a skull fracture can cut the middle meningeal artery, causing death.
"If you are not treated for this, you could die, but if you’re treated rapidly, you usually have a very, very good recovery," Manley said. "That is why people need to be evaluated promptly. Most patients who have this kind of injury return to a normal life. I have treated other athletes with similar injuries who have returned to playing sports."
Manley also said he believes that McCarthy will return to pitch again: "He might not be back the rest of the season, but I don’t think this would preclude him from playing baseball."
Arizona reliever Brad Ziegler, who used to pitch for Oakland, suffered a fractured skull when hit by a line drive in 2004, so he can empathize with McCarthy.
"For me, the physical part was the toughest," Ziegler told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I couldn't work out all off-season, even cardio, until the fracture healed. ... Honestly, I wasn't ever afraid of getting hit again. I felt like the odds of it happening in the first place were minuscule, so what were the odds of it happening again?"
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