Bryce Harper said he passed two concussions tests after Eric Young Jr.’s shin hit him on the head while trying to break up a double play in the second inning of Monday’s season opener against the New York Mets. Manager Matt Williams said he and a trainer talked to Harper after the hit and that Harper was administered MLB-mandated concussion tests from a doctor the next inning.
“I’ve got a pretty bad headache,” Harper said. “… No ‘hazy’ or ‘dizzy’ but my head hurts pretty bad.”
Harper was hit in the head in the top of the second inning but still took his position in left field in the bottom of the inning. He said he spoke with the doctors and did the second round of concussion tests after the game.
“He was cleared,” Williams said. “He felt okay. He got banged but he passed all the tests.”
Harper led off the second inning by drawing a walk off starter Dillon Gee. The next batter, Ian Desmond, hit a ground ball to third baseman David Wright, who started a double play. Wright fired the ball to second baseman Eric Young Jr. Harper, who appeared to start his slide slightly late, slid into Young. The second baseman jumped to complete the throw to first base and Harper slid into Young’s right leg.
Harper’s helmet flew off and his head snapped back after hitting Young’s shin. Harper collapsed to the ground and didn’t get up for a few moments. Kuntz and Williams ran out to talk with Harper, who then sat up. Slowly, he stood up on his own power and walked off the field. Harper’s slide broke up the double play and Desmond reached base safely, and he later scored on Adam LaRoche’s two-run home run.
“Young blew me up a little bit,” Harper said. He said he did not speak with Young about the play later in the game.
Denard Span, who dealt with concussions and subsequent symptoms when with the Minnesota Twins, said he was in the clubhouse looking at video of his last at-bat when Harper was hit in the head.
“When he went down, I was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Span said. “His first at-bat and he’s already taking a knee to the forehead. I came back, and he looked a little woozy, a little dizzy. But he kept playing, said he was fine. All you can do is take his word for it.”