Source AP ©

Coach killed during game after being struck by ball in the head

Minor league coach Mike Coolbaugh of the Tulsa Drillers died Sunday after being struck in the head by a ball during a game, police said.

The Texas League game against the Arkansas Travelers was suspended in the ninth inning after Coolbaugh was struck by a hard-hit foul ball off the bat of Tino Sanchez and taken to Baptist Medical Center-North Little Rock.

Phil Elson, spokesman for the Travelers, said Coolbaugh was struck by the ball on the right side of his head, or on the forehead - "I'm getting conflicting reports," he said - and fell to the ground immediately.

According to a report posted on the Drillers' Web site late Sunday, Coolbaugh was knocked unconscious and CPR was administered to him on the field.

Sgt. Terry Kuykendall, spokesman for North Little Rock police, said Coolbaugh was still alive when he was put in an ambulance for the trip to the hospital, but stopped breathing as the ambulance arrived at the facility.

"They tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at 9:47 p.m.," Kuykendall said.

Coolbaugh played 44 games in the major leagues over two seasons, his last appearance with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002. The Drillers' web site said Coolbaugh joined the Tulsa team's staff on July 3.

A native of Binghamton, New York, Coolbaugh went to high school in San Antonio and was drafted in 1990 by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 16th round.

He played third base and bounced around the minor leagues for a decade, before making his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2001. He played five more big league games for the Cardinals in 2002. He hit two home runs in 70 major league at-bats.

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