Sciambra out for season with broken neck
Freshman expected to make full recovery and return next year
LSU head coach Paul Mainieri confirmed in a media session Monday that freshman outfielder Chris Sciambra is out for the season with a broken neck.
The Baton Rouge native dived into the left-centerfield wall while chasing after a fly ball in the seventh inning of Sunday’s 4-3 win over Auburn.
Sciambra suffered a non-displaced fracture to his C-1 vertebrae. He will wear a neck brace for the next three months, but all indications are that he should make a full recovery and resume playing next year. Mainieri hopes he will be back for fall ball, with late summer being the earliest he is projected to be able to play baseball again.
“You’re emotions are kind of conflicting,” Mainieri explained. “On one hand you’re so devastated that this happened, and yet on the other hand you’re happy that it isn’t worse. The kid’s walking and using his limbs and there doesn’t appear to be any damage at all to his spinal column, and that’s the most important thing to me.”
Sciambra has started 16 games for the Tigers and batted .240, most recently from the leadoff spot. The freshman also showed flashes of defensive brilliance this season.
“Losing him is a pretty big blow to us,” said the coach. “Losing a left-handed presence like that, losing an excellent centerfielder, losing speed in the lineup and losing a guy that I thought had become a very tough out at the top of the order.”
The skipper presented several options for how LSU’s lineup will look following the loss of Sciambra, however he said he hasn’t made a final decision yet.
Mainieri is considering moving JaCoby Jones back to centerfield and starting Casey Yocom at second. He may also move Mason Katz to center opening up right field or first base or Jared Foster to center opening up left field or DH. Those changes would mean that Grant Dozar, Beau Didier, Alex Edward and Jackson Slaid will battle it out to fill the void and possibly platoon versus favorable pitching matchups.
UPDATE - LSU sent out the following release Tuesday thanking Auburn for the help given to Sciambra following his injury.
LSU thanks Auburn University and its athletic director, Jay Jacobs, for the attention given to LSU centerfielder Chris Sciambra who was injured during LSU’s game at Auburn on Sunday.
Sciambra, a freshman from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, suffered a non-displaced fracture in the C-1 vertebra of his neck after crashing into the centerfield wall Sunday while try to catch a fly ball.
Besides the medical attention given to Sciambra by the Auburn medical staff during the game, Jacobs authorized an Auburn University plane to transport Sciambra back to Baton Rouge.
“This was a wonderful show of school-to-school camaraderie that is greatly appreciated by LSU,” said Joe Alleva, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics. “An injury of this type can be particularly harrowing for a young student-athlete and Auburn’s actions helped alleviate the problem of getting Chris back to Baton Rouge. My thanks to Jay Jacobs for his generosity.”
“The actions of the Auburn staff during and after the game made a frightening situation much more comfortable for Chris and all of us at LSU and we all appreciate the generosity of Jay Jacobs in bringing Chris back home,” said head coach Paul Mainieri. “One of the great things about the SEC is the sportsmanship exhibited between schools, and this is just another example of that spirit.”
Sciambra will miss the remainder of the 2012 baseball season but is expected to have a full recovery.