Mets Minor League infielder Manuel Hilario was airlifted to a hospital Friday after a collision at second base sent him into a seizure during a Gulf Coast League game. The Mets released a statement Friday evening that indicated that a CT scan appeared to be normal and that Hilario could be released as soon as Saturday.
Hilario collided with GCL Nationals second baseman Younaifred Aguero while trying to break up a double play in the bottom of the fourth inning of the game played in Viera, Florida. According to eyewitness Matt DeRosier, the 22-year-old Dominican first baseman hit his head on Aguero and then again on the ground, leaving him unconscious for about 10 minutes.
"It was the scariest thing I've ever seen on a baseball field," said the Nationals reliever DeRosier, who was in the GCL Nationals' dugout when the injury occurred. "We prayed for him -- we had a big team prayer on the field."
The game was suspended with the Nationals ahead, 2-0.
The Mets' statement reads, in full:
"In the fourth inning of today's Gulf Coast League game, first baseman Manuel Hilario slid into second base (feet first), colliding with the Nationals [second baseman]. He took a knee to the head and immediately began to experience seizures and remained unresponsive. After treatment on the field, he was airlifted to an area hospital via helicopter. At the hospital he was administered a CT scan, which appears to be normal. He is talkative, in good spirits and could be discharged tomorrow."
DeRosier said Hilario was attended to by coaches and athletic trainers before Nationals rehab pitching coordinator Mark Grater jumped into a golf cart and drove to a nearby firehouse to find an EMT. DeRosier said Grater then drove an emergency responder back to the field before an ambulance arrived. The ambulance was soon followed by a helicopter, which took Hilario to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, Florida.
"The coaches were out there and they were yelling to call 9-1-1," DeRosier said. "They said he pretty much had a concussion, but it was such a bad concussion that it made him have a seizure. I think he may have lost feelings in his legs -- it was really scary."
DeRosier said Hilario, who has appeared in 32 games this season, slid hard into second and lost his helmet when his head hit Aguero.
"It was a nice, aggressive slide," he said. "He hit the ground really quickly, his helmet flew off, it was pretty instant. His head hit the ground, and after his head hit the ground, he was out. He wasn't moving at all. He locked up and started seizing for about 20 seconds. Everybody was around him, and one of our coaches went to the fire station -- he drove a golf cart and got the situation under control. [Hilario] was out for 10 minutes, just unconscious."
DeRosier said he saw Hilario eventually moving his arms.
"I think he sat up and they told him to lay back down," he said.
"The ambulance came and [Aguero] also said he saw his eyes rolled back into the back of his head," DeRosier said. "They called in a helicopter and the helicopter came in and got him, and the game was [suspended]."
Hilario, from Moca in the Dominican Republic, signed with the Mets in 2011 and has appeared in 161 career Minor League games. He's a .250 hitter with seven homers, 82 RBIs and 49 stolen bases, most of which came with the Mets' Rookie-level Dominican Summer League affiliate.
DeRosier said GCL Nationals manager Michael Barrett pulled his players together in the clubhouse afterward to reflect on the situation.
"We all shook hands with [the Mets] and told them to stay strong. We went into our clubhouse with our manager and just to lighten things up. He told us we need to stay together as a team and it's just part of baseball, --sometimes it's going to happen. He said he's never seen anything like that. It was crazy."