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MLB Pitcher Returns To Baseball After Complex Brain Surgery


A Seattle Mariners pitcher who is in the Valley for spring training has returned to the pitcher’s mound just three months after his brain ruptured causing him to undergo a critical and complex brain surgery at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center.

In November, Anthony Vasquez, 26, complained of headaches and vision problems to a Mariners trainer. A MRI scan showed that a blood vessel had ruptured in Vasquez’s brain and had been leaking for days. The rupture was caused by an AVM, a very rare and serious neurological disorder that causes abnormal tangles of arteries and veins in the brain.

“The doctors were surprised that I was still able to walk after my brain hemorrhaged,” says Vasquez. “It’s really amazing that I didn’t die.”

Vasquez underwent surgery the next day with Robert Spetzler, MD and director of Barrow, where a portion of Vasquez’s skull was removed to eliminate the AVM and prevent any further bleeding.

The complex surgery carries risks for major side affects such as paralysis however without treatment a ruptured AVM can be fatal.

Amazingly, Vasquez suffered no serious side affects and was released from the hospital just three days after surgery. And, even more stunning, Vasquez arrived back in Phoenix for spring training just three months later.

“It’s been one blessing after another,” says Vasquez, who is working out daily with the Mariners in Peoria. “I’m grateful to be back playing baseball and am appreciative of the Barrow medical team who helped me get here.”

Dr. Spetzler, a renowned surgeon who is considered one of the world’s top experts in treating brain AVMs, says that AVMs occur in less than one percent of the population and that he is pleased with Vasquez’s recovery from such a rare and serious diagnosis.

“The type of brain condition Anthony had is very rare, and for him to return to a high level professional sport so soon after surgery is really quite remarkable,” says Dr. Spetzler. “He’s a terrific individual and I’m thrilled with how well he’s recovered.” - Barrow

Vasquez and Dr. Spetzler are available for interviews. Please call Carmelle Malkovich at 602.406.3319 to schedule.

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