Blue Jays Pitcher J.A. Happ Stretchered Off After Being Hit in the Head by a Line Drive (Video)

j.a. happ line drive to head stretcher off the field

Most observers would tell you that the Toronto Blue Jays need a good slap on the side of the head to wake them up after a putrid start to a season in which they were supposed to be a shoe-in for the playoffs. That, however, is just a metaphor. What happened to starting pitcher J.A. Happ on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay is not what anyone had in mind.

Happ was pitching in the bottom of the second inning last night when a scorching line drive off the bat of Desmond Jennings came right back to the mound and hit the pitcher square on the side of the head. The whacking sound of the impact rivaled the initial crack of the bat, and Happ collapsed on the spot, covering his head with his hands.

Though he remained conscious, Happ also remained relatively motionless while medical staff tended to him. This resulted in seven minutes of pure stomach-churning dread for the players on the field, the fans in the stands, and the folks watching on TV at home.

Here’s video of the incident. Obviously, it’s hard to watch, so consider yourself warned:

Happ was taken to the Bayfront Medical Center in Tampa, and after the game Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he was alert and in stable condition. However, one shouldn’t presume he is out of the woods yet. Last year Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy took a line drive to the head while pitching for the Oakland A’s and was alert and responsive afterward—but he had a skull fracture and an epidural hemorrhage that required surgery.

All of this is only going to stir up more debate about what, if anything, should be done to protect pitchers out on the mound. After the Happ incident, MLB spokesperson Pat McCourtney said the league was working with several companies to develop several “promising” protective products, including cap-liners made of kevlar.

Of course, any such products or changes would be too late for J.A. Happ. Let’s all pray he is okay, and that he’ll make a full recovery.

Hat Tip – [ESPN]

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