Keough appears on road to another comeback

March 18, 1992|By Earl Bloom | Earl Bloom,Orange County (Calif.) Register

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Twenty-four hours after undergoing surgery on his skull to remove pressure from a blood clot, California Angels pitcher Matt Keough showed encouraging progress yesterday, physicians and family members said.

"He looks good," said his wife, Jeana Keough, after a visit to Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. "It seems like they might move him [out of intensive care] tomorrow. We'll see. They [doctors] think I might be able to fly him home Saturday."

Attempting to come back from a second rotator cuff operation, Matt Keough was struck on the right side of his head Monday by a foul ball, while he was seated in the Angels' dugout during an exhibition game. He was listed in critical condition after surgery to relieve swelling of the brain.

Keough's condition was upgraded to serious yesterday after he underwent a second CT scan.

"At this point, Matt is awake and alert," said Dr. Fred Dicke, who is representing the Angels' medical staff in Arizona. "He has movement in all extremities. Preliminary results of this morning's CT scan are encouraging and things are looking good."

Keough was expected to have a third CT scan done today.

"You never know about things like this, he could still have some bleeding on the brain and it could turn the other way," Jeana Keough said. "I've been told the first 48 hours are the most critical."

Jeana Keough said her husband was sitting in a chair, feeding himself, when she left the hospital last evening.

"We're fine," Jeana Keough said. "The hospital has been great, the Angels' staff has been great.

"Matt was real fortunate to be so close to the hospital, and that the neurosurgeon [Dr. Gordon Deen, who performed Monday's craniotomy] just happened to be there. The angels were on his side."

She said her husband's mind was clear. "He hasn't forgotten anything," she said. "He even remembered Pat Perry's phone number."

Perry, another pitcher, was released by the Angels on Sunday.

Jeana Keough said her husband "wants to drive, he just wants to go to his apartment [in Arizona] for an hour, and he says he'll be right back. He's worried about his puppy."

She said Bill Bavasi, the Angels' minor league director, was caring for the dog.

It is too early to answer questions about her husband's baseball future, Jeana Keough said, although she has asked his doctors.

"I've been pushing for that sort of thing," she said. "They say it's day to day. It's a head injury. He could need physical therapy."

Jeana Keough, who is 7 1/2 months pregnant and due to give birth May 5, said she was at their Coto de Caza home Monday when her father-in-law, Marty Keough, called.

She said she did not learn Matt had undergone surgery until after arriving in Phoenix.

Marty Keough, a former major-league player who is now a St. Louis scout, was at the game.

"He was conscious, but we didn't talk at all in the ambulance," Marty Keough said. "He did respond to the doctor [at the hospital] and could move his arms and legs.

"About a half hour later, he began regressing. It got scary. He was in severe pain at the time, very uncomfortable. I figure then he actually passed out."

Asked if he was concerned about his son's safety the years of watching him play, Marty Keough said: "I've seen balls go by him [on the mound], ones he's knocked down, even hit him. He [batted] enough, so I've seen plenty of pitches come close to his head, [but] you never worry about a foul ball.

"Matt asked me for a newspaper this morning, and I went down and got one," Marty Keough said. "I didn't even think about what the headlines would say."

The sports headline in yesterday's Mesa Tribune read: "Keough has brain surgery."

He said his son didn't even blink.

"He turned right to the box score [of the Angels game] to see how everyone did," Marty Keough said. "It [the headlines] didn't even faze him."

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