SportsPulse: Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar suffered a mind aneurysm on April 20.
USA TODAY Sports activities

Chicago White Sox pitcher Danny Farquhar confronted 4 batters within the most sensible of the 6th inning Friday night time and returned to the dugout after a reputedly customary inning of labor.

However by way of the highest of the 7th, an aneurysm in his mind had ruptured, leaving him in a fight for his life.

Farquhar remained at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on Monday as the baseball world continued to try to come to terms with the severity and suddenness of his ailment. The White Sox said in a statement that the 31-year-old is “progressing well” after a Saturday surgery and “has use of his extremities, is responding appropriately to questions and commands and is speaking to doctors and his family.”

While few specifics have emerged about the nature or location of Farquhar’s aneurysm, experts in neurosurgery told USA TODAY Sports that it’s possible that the 31-year-old could return to lead a normal life.

“If he’s awake and talking, there’s a good chance that he’ll do a stint of rehab and do quite well,” said Howard Riina, the director of NYU’s Lagone Health Center for Stroke and Neuromuscular Diseases. “A lot of people can return, if the aneurysm is secured, to their previous level of functioning and a normal life expectancy. Other people have damage and they may not be the same. A lot of it has to do with how he came in, how he fares during the course of the hospitalization.”

Aneurysms are essentially weak or thin parts of a blood vessel wall. They can occur anywhere in the body, and Riina estimated that about three to six percent of the population has one — often unknowingly, because many do not have clear symptoms.

“It’s likely that (Farquhar) had this even for a number of years without knowing it,” added Dr. Kevin McGail, chairman of the neurosurgery department at Georgetown University’s medical school. “But it was always at risk for bleeding or bursting.”

Dimitri Sigounas, an assistant professor of neurological surgery at George Washington University, likened ruptured aneurysms to volcanoes — erupting before going dormant for a brief time, during which they must be repaired.

Riina described them as “almost like a blowout on a tire,” estimating that about 30 to 50 percent of people die from the initial rupture and, of those who make it to the hospital, only one-third ever return to normalcy.

Experts said aneurysms appear most often in people over the age of 50. Babak Jahromi, a neurosurgeon and professor at Northwestern University’s medical school, wrote in an email that having a ruptured aneurysm at 31 like Farquhar is “less common” but “not rare.”

Jahromi, McGail and Riina said that it’s possible, but not certain, that Farquhar’s pitching activity could have raised his blood pressure and contributed to the rupture.

“It’s not so surprising that it’s while participating in a game,” Riina said. “But other times, people have aneurysms when they’re just walking down the street or sitting at home.”

While all three doctors cautioned that they could only speak generally about aneurysms because they had not seen detailed information about Farquhar’s case, they agreed that the White Sox pitcher will be monitored in the intensive care unit for weeks at a minimum. He will then, in a best-case scenario, undergo a physical rehabilitation process to recover any lost function.

“Recovery is usually measured in terms of months (and sometimes years), rather than weeks/days,” Jahromi wrote in an email.

Contact Tom Schad at or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.


Display Thumbnails

Display Captions

Ultimate SlideNext Slide