ST. PETERSBURG - Moments after pitcher Alex Cobb crumpled to the mound after being struck in the head with a 102 mph baseball off the bat of Eric Hosmer on June 15, the Rays pitcher lay on the ground wanting to get back up on his feet. Then as he was being wheeled off the field and heading for an ambulance he looked up at the roof of Tropicana Field and felt like the top of the dome was spinning.
That's when the reality of what had just occurred began to set in for the 25-year-old.
"That's when the headaches first began,'' Cobb said Monday in his first public comments since the incident against the Kansas City Royals. "It never really hurt that bad until the spinning set in.''
Remarkably, Cobb was diagnosed with only a mild concussion and was released from the hospital less than 24 hours after being admitted.
But since then Cobb has had limited physical activity, tasked by his girlfriend with the assignment to walk the couple's two dogs twice daily. Other than that Cobb spent the past nine days doing a lot of sitting around, waiting to watch his teammates on television with some visits to the doctor's office sprinkled in during the daytime hours.
The prognosis for Cobb's recovery continues to be positive, though there is no sort of timeline for a return to normal activities, let alone stepping back on the pitching rubber. There is still a buildup of fluid in his right ear that will need to completely subside and he will have to be free from concussion symptoms before he is cleared to resume physical activity.
For the time being, Cobb is still suffering from concussion-related headaches and has suffered from bouts of vertigo, though he said he continues to feel better each day.
"The headaches after the fact, the first few days, were pretty tough to handle ... it was leading to some nausea and stuff like that,'' he said. ""It's with you every second of the day. Whenever you look in a certain direction too quickly, or even try to lay down to try to go to bed, you're reminded you have something serious going on.
"You're not going to be able to fight through that until your body says you're good.''
Despite all the issues Cobb continues to deal with and no clear direction on when it will all clear up - although doctors told him he's healing quicker than expected and will see rapid improvement shortly - Cobb is determined to be back on the mound this season.
"I've read some reports that I won't be back pitching this season and nothing could be further from the truth,'' Cobb said.