Mitchell McCrary Endures Injury Torture

Editor/Collegiate Baseball

DURHAM, N.C. — On April Fools day in 2017, Mitchell McCrary of North Carolina Central was drilled in the face by a 90 mph fastball while trying to bunt.

He was rushed to Duke University Hospital, and surgery was performed to repair three separate breaks in his jaw as blood was pouring out of his mouth.

McCrary’s mouth was wired shut for a month and a half. Then his mouth was half wired for another four weeks.

He couldn’t eat normally as he craved anything that he could chew and had to cope with drinking his food for months.

Liquified food was sucked through a straw placed in front of his teeth next to his cheek as it seeped through small openings between his teeth and into his throat.

It was agonizing and torture.

Ultimately, he would endure another surgery on his jaw. Prior to this setback, he had to overcome labrum surgery to both shoulders.

“I found myself filling my heart with hatred and depression,” said McCrary.

“Hate, that it was me who was given this obstacle to overcome. Hate, that I was waking up each day knowing I wasn’t going to suit up with my brothers for the rest of the season.

“Depressed that my season had been cut short once again to injury.”

“Depressed to the point where I ostracized myself away from friends and family. I spent weeks talking with a psychologist about life, baseball and trying to find that inner peace that I had been longing for since the incident.”

Prior to the injury, McCrary made 26 appearances and 25 starts during the 2017 season and was batting .352 with 32 hits and reached base safely in every game.

He had a .438 on-base percentage and a .451 slugging percentage.

“We were playing a home game that day. In the third inning, we had runners on first and second with no outs.

“I stepped up to the plate and tried to move them over with a sacrifice bunt. I am a lefthanded hitter and squared around against a pitcher from Florida A&M (JoJo Durden) who was a lefty.

“When the pitch came out of his hand, I knew it wasn’t going to be in the strike zone immediately. My initial reaction was to turn away from the pitch as it was coming inside.

“But I couldn’t react quickly enough as a 90 mph fastball cracked me on the right side of my jaw.

“I immediately fell to the ground. I knew something was horrifically wrong with my mouth because it was completely contorted because of three broken bones in my jaw.

“I could feel some teeth in the back of my mouth that were broken from the impact of the blow. Two teeth were chipped in the back on top.

“One was chipped on the bottom in the very back as well.

To read more of this article, order the 2019 College Preview Issue of Collegiate Baseball (Jan. 4, 2019) or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.