KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Coming off a shoulder injury and breaking in a new delivery, Tommy Hanson was looking for a smooth start to spring training.
Instead, he wound up with a wrecked car and a knock to the head.
Hanson was back in camp Thursday with the Atlanta Braves, feeling much better after a scary accident on his way to the opening workout for pitchers and catchers left him with a concussion.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Hanson said, sharing details of the wreck for the first time. “I’m alive. I’m good. I’m healthy. There’s nothing wrong. I didn’t break anything. I just kind of rattled my head a little bit. I’m trying to look at the positives.”
Hanson, who went 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA last season, is one of baseball’s most promising young pitchers.
On his way to the Braves’ Disney World complex early Monday morning, Hanson’s car suddenly blew a tire as he was making a left turn. He skidded off the highway, down an embankment and across a grassy field before the vehicle finally came to a stop. He was tossed around violently during the rough ride, winding up with a concussion and several bruises even though he was wearing his seatbelt.
“I don’t remember how I hit my head or what I hit my head on,” Hanson said “I just tried to get my car to come to a stop.”
At first, the 25-year-old Hanson didn’t realize he was injured. He stepped on the gas and managed to get his mangled car back to the side of the road. From there, he called for a tow truck, which loaded up his vehicle and gave him a lift to the stadium. But once he arrived, the trainers realized Hanson wasn’t himself. They sent him to a doctor, who diagnosed a mild concussion.
Hanson skipped the first three days of camp, trying to get over the telltale symptoms of his injury: a throbbing headache and bouts of nausea that made it impossible for him to eat. When he awoke Thursday after finally getting a good night of sleep, the headache was gone. Hanson was still sore from bruises to his ribs and left shoulder.