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Freak injury: Pitcher knocked unconscious by own catcher’s throw

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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A strange and scary injury occurred during Saturday's SEC Tournament game between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs. Gators pitcher Brian Johnson was knocked unconscious and sustained a mild concussion when an errant throw from his catcher Mike Zunino struck him in the back of the head.

It happened just six batters into the game. Georgia had already plated two runs off Johnson and were looking to add on when it put a runner in motion from first. Zunino came up firing behind the plate, but appeared to trip over the foot of batter Jonathan Hester, which changed the trajectory of his throw, but unfortunately didn't alter the velocity.

Johnson, who had kneeled down facing away from the plate, had no chance to protect himself. Upon impact he grabbed for his head immediately before falling unconscious right in front of the mound. {YSP:MORE}

Watch the injury here (Warning: It's difficult to watch)

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Johnson was tended to for several minutes on the field before being place on a stretcher and carted off the field. He was released from the hospital late Saturday after extensive tests revealed no fractures, bruises or bleeding. Of course, no one was happier to hear that report than Mike Zunino.

From Florida Today:

"He was visibly emotional about that," coach Kevin O'Sullivan said of Zunino. "He felt awful about it. He was the first guy I went to when I got the news from our trainer that (Johnson) was going to be OK."

The Gators dropped the game 4-3 to Georiga, but rebounded to knock off the Bulldogs 3-2 later that night. On Sunday, they defeated Vanderbilt 5-0 to win their first SEC Tournament since 1991. Congratulations to the Gators. And here's hoping Brian Johnson is able to recover and contribute to their run towards the College World Series.

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