Given that the NFL is always dealing with its concussion problems while the NHL deals with the occasional hit like this, baseball isn't thought of as being in the upper tier of dangerous sports, nor should it be. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have frightening moments all its own, and on Wednesday, a terrifying incident took place in a game between the Cardinals and Braves.
Braves minor league manager Luis Salazar was standing in the dugout when he was hit by a foul line drive off the bat of Brian McCann. The ball struck Salazar in the face, he fell to the ground, and the game was stopped for about 15 minutes while medics put Salazar on a stretcher and took him to an ambulance that had driven onto the field. Salazar was then airlifted to a nearby hospital.
There's no word yet on the extent of Salazar's injuries, but McCann had to remove himself from the game because he was too shaken up. Oftentimes, after an accident like this, one focuses on the victim and forgets about the psychological trauma incurred by the guy with the bat. But it is always the victims who get the worst of it, and everyone's obviously hoping for the best for Salazar, here.
Every time something like this happens, people inevitably raise the question of why it had to happen in the first place. But short of installing higher nets or sheets of plexiglass, there's not much that could've been done to prevent this particular incident. The dugout is a dangerous area, and it's something of a miracle that this doesn't happen more often. Whenever I see someone getting interviewed on or near the field while activity is taking place, I always fear the worst. Baseballs and bats can cause bad, bad things.
Salazar has "multiple facial fractures and possible damage to his left eye, but doctors have ruled out brain damage." The ball hit him in the left side of his face, then he fell and hit the ground face-first, where he lay unconscious. He regained consciousness after about 20 minutes and was breathing on his own. Salazar's son Carlos was in the ballpark.