Pitcher Evan Marshall returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday. It turns out he is lucky to be returning anywhere.
Marshall was pitching for triple-A Reno in a game in El Paso earlier this month when he took a line drive off his skull. He walked off the field under his own power, and all seemed OK. It wasn't. Marshall later began to get nauseous and was taken to a hospital, where doctors discovered he had a fractured skull and bleeding on his brain. He underwent emergency surgery to save his life.
"It was a very severe brain injury," Dr. Christina Kwasnica, director of rehabilitation at the Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, told the Associated Press. "I hate to talk about it in front of patients, but it was a hit right in the wrong part of the skull, where the skull is thin. And right below there is an artery, so he had immediate bleeding."
Marshall then talked about that night from his viewpoint.
"Damage was being done with the pressure that was building in the skull," Marshall said. "They got me opened up and they relieved the pressure really fast and stopped the damage from being done. Twenty staples up the side of my head. If those scars are the price I have to pay to continue to play, that's fine .... I was minutes away from not making it."
When they learned Marshall's condition was serious, the Diamondbacks flew his wife, Allie, to El Paso to be with him.
"The doctors in El Paso and the staff, they saved my husband's life," she said. "It was terrifying, absolutely terrifying."
Marshall is currently in outpatient therapy and said he hopes to return to pitching next season.