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Exclusive: Rockies pitcher Ryan Feltner on returning to the baseball field after fractured skull, concussion

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(NEW YORK) — Colorado Rockies pitcher Ryan Feltner is speaking out for the first time since taking a 92-mph line drive to the back of the head.

The devastating injury in May left him face down in the dirt against the Philadelphia Phillies. He suffered a fractured skull and concussion and was escorted off the field on his feet.

“There’s one of two ways it could have gone and I didn’t want it to go in a negative direction,” Feltner told ABC News’ Good Morning America in an exclusive interview.

“This presents the biggest challenge that I’ve ever had. I remember everything … so working through all of that was a journey,” Feltner said.

He feared he’d never play baseball again.

“Daily activities were pretty tough in the beginning,” he said. “I couldn’t make breakfast, couldn’t do anything really for myself. And then things gradually got easier. I think the biggest thing was balance issues. There was vertigo in the beginning. I didn’t want to get my blood pressure too high because of the brain bleed that I had.”

He went on, “There were fears at the beginning of that, you know, everyday activities were tough. We had four months to work through things. So when we got to that point, that’s kind of when it became clear that I was going to do it again.”

Last week the 27-year-old pitched five scoreless innings and threw five strikeouts against the San Diego Padres.

Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black said of Feltner’s recovery: “To have him come back after, after his type of injury was was uplifting for us. His dedication, you know, his, his devotion to being a good pitcher, and his work ethic will lead him to good things.”

Now, Feltner wears a protective shield under his hat when he plays that’s made from the same type of material used to protect hitters’ elbows and shins.

“It doesn’t bother me too much, so I would encourage other people to look into it as well,” he said.

He’s also felt grateful for the outpouring of support from friends and fans and has a fresh perspective on life outside baseball.

“You’re gonna win some games and you’re gonna lose some games,” he said. “So there’s no reason stressing over it and there’s a lot more to life, there’s a bigger picture to it. You know, when you come back close to not being able to play again, it switches things up for you. I’m just grateful for every day.”

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