During the second inning of a Friday-night game between the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies, Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond hit a hard line drive toward the mound. Rockies rookie pitcher, Juan Nicasio, had only enough time to turn his head before the ball bounced off it, dropping him to the ground and breaking his neck.

He underwent surgery at the Denver Health Medical Center for a fracture of the C-1 vertebrae and remains in serious but stable condition.

When asked if this meant the end of his career, Dr. Allen Schreiber, who was part of the medical team that treated him, said, “No idea. He’s 24 years old. He can bounce back. He has every reasonable chance to come back completely … every reasonable chance to do that.”

Video of Nicasio sustaining the injury is below, but a warning — it’s not for the faint at heart.

Nicasio, whose surgery involved placement of a permanent plate and two screws in his neck by a neurosurgeon, retained full use of his extremities, and continues to undergo CT scans every few hours due to bleeding in his head.

“That’s as devastating a situation as you can deal with in this game,” said Rockies manager Jim Tracy. “It’s extremely difficult. It’s actually beyond explanation. … It’s really, really hard. When you look at where he was at the beginning of the year and where he advanced to up to this point, he was really, really emerging.”

Video of the incident is below.

[Denver Post]