Collision mars Orioles' 2-1 win Milligan and B. Ripken crash, but apparently not hurt badly

April 23, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Orioles first baseman Randy Milligan suffered an apparent injury to his neck or jaw last night after a fifth-inning collision with second baseman Bill Ripken.

Officials said Milligan was takennight in the hospital and doctors still are trying to determine if he suffered a fracture when his cheekbone struck Ripken's shoulder.

"Thank goodness, it doesn't look too bad," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said last night. "Billy has a left shoulder that looks like it's bruised and Randy has been cleared of any neurological damage."

Milligan laid motionless on the field for almost 20 minutes before being removed by paramedics. It appeared that a neck brace was applied while Milligan was on a stretcher.

The collision occurred as Milligan was fielding a ground ball hit by the Kansas City Royals' Keith Miller.

"The only thing I could think of was [Detroit Lions Mike] Utley [who was paralyzed in a game last year]," Oates said. "I was just hoping and praying to God everything was OK."

Milligan darted to his right and Ripken moved to his left. Ripken's shoulder appeared to catch Milligan flush on the jaw after Milligan fielded the ball almost halfway between first and second base.

Ripken's shoulder seemed to hit just below Milligan's left jaw, and both players sprawled to the ground. Ripken got up immediately, but Milligan was knocked unconscious.

By the time he left in an ambulance, Milligan was reported to be conscious and alert and was moving all of his limbs.

Trainer Richie Bancells said Milligan was unconscious for "six or seven seconds" after he reached him. Milligan said he initially felt a burning sensation and numbness in the back of his neck, explaining the brace, but those sensations dissipated by the time he entered the ambulance.

"With a neck injury, you're not going to mess around," said Bancells. "I felt we had to get a brace on him right away."

Ripken also went to the hospital to have his shoulder examined, but his injury did not appear to be as severe.

"I wasn't frightened; I was concerned because he wasn't conscious," Bancells said. "I was concerned because he said he was numb all over. I wanted to make sure that he could move all his limbs and that he could feel me touching all his limbs."

Milligan was hitting .195 with two home runs and eight RBI.

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