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Posted July 29, 2009 | Copyright © The Northern Virginia Daily
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New Market's Mickens hospitalized after beaning

By Jeremy Stafford -- jstafford@nvdaily.com

NEW MARKET -- It came without warning.

A fastball to the head of New Market outfielder Kenny Mickens only two pitches into the Rebels' game at Woodstock on Monday night.

Mickens collapsed in the batter's box and lay still for about five minutes, according to Rebels president Bruce Alger.

New Market athletic trainer Abigail Hansberger tended to Mickens and concluded that, based on a series of tests she had given Mickens, there wasn't any serious damage.

The outfielder took his place at first base and was immediately struck by another dose of searing pain, though there was plenty of warning this time.

"He had a headache and they just took him out of the game," said Alger, who arrived to the field at Central High School around 8:15 p.m. "I went to inquire about him and found out that his headache was still pretty strong, it hadn't eased up, and so I asked [Hansberger] to ... immediately take him to Shenandoah Memorial for a CAT scan."

The CAT scan showed that Mickens had a small blood spot, which meant the blow to the head had caused some minor bleeding. Mickens was then transported to the Intensive Care Unit at Winchester Medical Center, where a neurologist could monitor Mickens over night in case something went wrong.

Alger said that Rebels coach Lucas Jones was the only visitor permitted into Mickens' room Monday night, and that Mickens was "talking and in great spirits."

"He still has somewhat of a headache, but feels great other than that," Alger said.

A second CAT scan, taken at 12:20 p.m. on Tuesday, showed that "significant progress had been made."

Alger said that Mickens spent Tuesday evening waiting to be moved to a private room where he would stay over night, and that he should be released sometime this morning pending further complications.

Alger, who is a host parent for Mickens and admits the Rebel often calls him "Pops", spoke to Mickens' father Tuesday afternoon.

"His dad is very confident that his son is in good hands, that we've made the right decisions to this point," Alger explained.

As of yet, there is no word as to whether Mickens will be healthy enough to join the Rebels for the playoffs, which begin Sunday. With a 21-18 record, New Market has a slim hold over Woodstock for second place in the Central Division. The top two teams in each division get automatic bids into the postseason.

"If the doctor says there's a possibility that he can [play], and releases him 100 percent, then head coach Jones, myself, [Mickens'] mom and dad, and Kenny will make the decision at that time," Alger said. "If the doctor says there's no way, then the decision will be made for us."

Mickens plays college ball at Los Angeles City College, and is third in the Valley League with a .357 batting average. He represented the Rebels in the Valley Baseball League All-Star game on July 12, starting in left field for the South All-Stars.

Unfortunately for Alger, though, Mickens' injury isn't even the latest in the string of injuries which have recently plagued the Rebels.

In the late innings of a makeup game against Luray on Tuesday, Rebels catcher Will Cooper broke his arm while landing awkwardly after tagging out Wrangler outfielder Pablo Bermudez in a rundown between third and home plate.

Cooper was the last available catcher on the Rebels' roster, and Alger isn't sure if he will be allowed to sign another catcher so late in the season, even in this desperate situation.

"That's the Valley League," Alger explained. "It's like a rollercoaster, it just hasn't slowed down for us injury-wise."

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