Greg Colbrunn suffers hemorrhage

Updated: June 5, 2014, 10:12 PM ET
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com

Boston Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn was diagnosed with bleeding in the brain, a potentially life-threatening condition, after being taken to the Cleveland Clinic before Wednesday's game with the Cleveland Indians.

A statement released by the team said that Red Sox medical director Dr. Larry Ronan and doctors at the clinic expect the 44-year-old Colbrunn to "make a good recovery."

Colbrunn will remain in Cleveland for the next few days to undergo further evaluation, the statement said.

Colbrunn, who was taken to the clinic after experiencing dizziness, the statement said, was diagnosed with subarachnoid hemorrhage. According to the UCLA neurosurgery website, subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) involves bleeding into the space between the surface of the brain and the arachnoid, one of three coverings of the brain.

"Trauma is the most common cause of spontaneous SAH, and 75 percent to 80 percent of spontaneous SAHs involve ruptured brain aneurysms," the website states. "Other causes of SAH include arteriovenous malformation (AVM), vascular inflammation affecting the central nervous system, and carotid artery dissection."

According to the website, the most common symptom is a sudden severe headache, "often characterized as 'the worst headache of my life.'" This headache occurs in up to 97 percent of cases. Other symptoms include vomiting, fainting, temporary loss of consciousness during the headache, and blurred or double vision.

The only symptom mentioned by the team in its statement was dizziness.

About a third to half of all patients with subarachnoid hemorrhage may die or be left with impaired brain function, the website said.

"The prognosis depends largely on how badly the person was affected at first and if vasospasm develops," the site states.

Cerebral vasospasm is described as the spasmodic constriction of blood vessels in the brain and is a common symptom following SAH. Vasospasm typically occurs six to eight days after the SAH, the website said.

Singer and reality TV star Bret Michaels is among the celebrities who have had an episode of SAH. He was hospitalized on April 21, 2010, and listed in critical condition, but he was among the 20 percent that recover completely, according to his neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Zabramski. Even a month after the SAH, Michaels told People Magazine he was still undergoing rehabilitation and having trouble moving his lower body, while suffering from a stiff neck and headaches.

Colbrunn is in his second season as the Red Sox hitting coach, his first big-league coaching position after previously serving five years as hitting coach and one as manager of the Class A Charleston RiverDogs in the New York Yankees' system. Colbrunn played 13 seasons in the big leagues with the Expos, Marlins, Twins, Braves, Rockies, Diamondbacks and Mariners. He won a World Series with Curt Schilling and the Diamondbacks in 2001.

Last Friday night, after manager John Farrell and coaches Torey Lovullo and Brian Butterfield were ejected from a game with the Tampa Bay Rays, Colbrunn wound up as acting manager.

"We were figuring it out on the fly," he said with a smile.

The Red Sox won that night, 3-2.

The Red Sox have an assistant hitting coach, Victor Rodriguez, who is in his second season, in that capacity after serving six seasons as the team's minor-league hitting coordinator. Rodriguez, who played a total of 17 games in the big leagues with the Orioles and Twins, is in his 20th season with the Red Sox. With Colbrunn sidelined indefinitely, it remains to be seen whether the Red Sox add another hitting coach to the staff on an interim basis.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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