Having a hitter or fielder go down with an injury is a scary thing for any team but having a St. Louis Cardinals prospect pitcher hit the dirt after a hard hit ball back up the middle is a thing altogether different.
If you missed the news, the St. Louis Cardinals had one of their rising stars- Daniel Poncedeleon– removed from a game in Iowa after he took a shot back up the middle and off the right side of his head. I wrote about the scary moment here a few days ago, as well as an update yesterday.
Here’s the latest, Poncedeleon is still in Iowa and is attempting to recover. While yesterday’s news was that he was in ICU, today’s news is that he has undergone emergency surgery to relieve pressure on his brain on Wednesday at some point.
More often than not, the type of surgery that Poncedeleon underwent on Wednesday is done to relieve the pressure and without which the patient is likely to die. After being hit in the head, the brain often swells due to a hematoma at the point of impact which is a rough and scary situation.
The brain, tightly packed in the skull, has little space to swell and, when it does, it can suffer significant damage as it rubs against the skull. In an instance like this, if unchecked, the brain’s own swelling will kill the patient. This is when doctors step in and perform stress-relieving surgery to remove the fluid/blood/hematoma from the skull.
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The surgery- Decompressive Craniectomy- is a scary thing in itself. While word has not come that this is the procedure that the St. Louis Cardinals’ prospect underwent, it is very likely the chosen route.
In this surgery, the skilled doctor removes part of the skull to allow for the removal of fluid and to allow oxygen (through blood) to return to the swelling parts of the brain. This is the most invasive brain surgery- short of lobotomy- and many patients suffer repercussions from the surgery (as well as the swelling) and/or die.
Scary, right? Even the less invasive procedure- a burr hole- to relieve pressure is scary. A burr hole is a smaller opening that is often replaced but from which pressure is relieved. This sounds terrible too as, to me, anytime you cut into the skull sounds risky.
The recovery time of a procedure such as these, and likely the one that Poncedeleon faced, is a few days to several weeks and is dependent upon the patient. This might mean that the St. Louis Cardinals have lost a young prospect from one freak accident.
Let us all pray and hope that Daniel recovers. Whether he returns to the pitching mound or not, let us hope that he recovers from this injury without complications and that he returns to a normal life whether baseball is involved or not. Stay tuned for more updates should I learn of them.