Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-04-01
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Softball player critically injured at gay tournament in Las Vegas
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

A San Diego man was seriously injured at a gay softball tournament in Las Vegas on Jan. 18. Mike Petracca is slowly improving—and was downgraded on Jan. 22 from critical to stable condition and moved into a private room at University Medical Center from the ICU—as the LGBT community rallies around him. He returned to San Diego Jan. 23.

Petracca, 28, who is openly gay and lives and works in Carlsbad, California, was participating in the 8th annual Sin City Shootout—a multi-day event that attracted about 7,500 participants for 18 sports. He was between fields with his teammates—including former Chicago resident Chuck Jacobson, who now lives in San Diego—awaiting their next game after already having played two. They were watching a C-Division team from Chicago, the Chicago Havoc, which was playing.

Petracca was struck in the head with an aluminum softball bat that had been accidentally released during a batter's swing on a nearby field. The bat flew nearly 40 feet and hit Petracca on the left temple area. He immediately collapsed, striking his head on the ground.

"It is the very definition of a freak accident, as bats rarely leave a batter's hands in softball and no one at the fields could ever recall seeing a bat leave the field of play, let alone strike another person," said Brian Burnett, a teammate of Petracca's, who created a GoFundMe webpage for Petracca's mounting medical expenses.

In one day, more than $26,000 had been raised.

"I heard a clunk [when the bat struck Petracca], the bat [hitting the ground] and a lot of noise, a lot of screaming," said Anthony Miceli, 49, of Chicago, who was in the Havoc dugout at the time as his team was batting. "I turned around and saw [Petracca] go down and hit his head, and immediately jumped out of the dugout.

"It was the craziest thing I've ever seen; I couldn't believe it."

Miceli said blood was "literally squirting out of his head," so he immediately applied pressure to Petracca's head. Miceli and others talked to Petracca and tried to keep him calm as they awaited medical personnel to arrive.

Petracca suffered a skull fracture and swelling of the brain. He had immediate brain surgery to relieve the swelling and repair the fracture, and the MRI results showed some damage to the left side of the brain where the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes meet, specifically Broca's area, according to Burnett. "This is the part of the brain for speech production," Burnett said. "At this time, he is unable to talk clearly; he comprehends and wants to talk, but can't get the words out.

"This isn't something that can be fixed with surgery or other medical procedures, so we'll have to see how it heals with time and therapy. He also has right side muscle weakness/lack of control that will hopefully get better with time, and he has some lower facial paralysis, [which] will hopefully heal when the swelling subsides as well."

Petracca's dad, Michael, said by phone on Jan. 22 that his son is "really frustrated; he seems a little bit defeated. He knows what happened, somewhat."

The elder Petracca said his son's long-term prognosis "is going to be a fight."

"His speech is either going to go from no improvement to full speech. We don't know yet [what it will be]; it's just a matter of time, and he's aware of that; we told him that.

"This is really hard; it's a roller coaster [of emotions]," the elder Petracca added. "It's two steps forward, one step backwards here and there. He's in so much pain; his head is throbbing like you can't believe."

Petracca returned to San Diego, where he will go directly into a managed care facility to make sure he's stabilized and further tend to his care, Burnett said.

Petracca works as a server at the Tin Leaf Fresh Kitchen. He is a diehard San Diego Padres fan, and his dad tagged him as a "baseball encyclopedia, especially about the Padres." Petracca played Little League Baseball, then soccer in high school and he has played gay softball for about five years. Petracca has two sisters, one older and one younger.

"While insurance will certainly cover a large portion of these immediate expenses, the road ahead could be a long and arduous one, with a lot of therapy," Burnett said. "The long-term outlook for how much of that can or will be covered is much less clear. Mike deserves the best possible care going forward and we are determined to smooth the road ahead as much as possible. Thus, any contributions made to this fundraising effort will be forwarded to Mike's trust account, where non-covered costs related to his care and recovery will be the only priority."

Medical expenses are expected to exceed $1 million, his dad said.

The LGBT community, not just the softball world, has stepped up, rallied behind Petracca and is wildly sharing his story to aide his medical bills.

"The outpouring of emotion from his communities—meaning, our community of family and friends, the softball community, the LGBT community, and others—I can't even begin to explain or express my appreciation, both financially, plus love and support."

Michael Erwin, the president of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) who was in Las Vegas for the tournament, posted news about Petracca on Facebook and tagged it, "such a sad story."

Jack Neilsen, the commissioner of CMSA's open Sunday softball division, is a board member for the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance ( NAGAAA ), which runs the annual Gay Softball World Series. The Sin City Shootout is the annual tournament hosted by the Greater Los Angeles Softball Association ( GLASA ).

"I am deeply saddened by the tragic freak accident," Neilsen said. "Although I did not know Mike personally, he is part of our N.A.G.A.A.A. Family. It's overwhelming to see the outpouring of support, both financial and emotional, for Mike and his family while they are going through this horrific time. On behalf of CMSA Open Sunday Softball would like to extend our thoughts to everyone. We look forward to the day that we can give Mike the high-five on the field and welcome him home to his softball family again. Godspeed Mike."

To support Petracca's mounting medical bills, go to: .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

CMSA events shut down through May 9 2020-04-01 - Because of COVID-19-related concerns, The Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) is expanding its suspending all game play, team practices and social ...

Gay News

IN THE LIFE Bradshaw Wish: Yoga in the age of COVID-19 2020-04-01 - Bradshaw Wish is a yoga instructor with quite a following. However, dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult for everyone, including those ...

Gay News

WORLD Singapore ruling, athlete comes out, Canadian gym owner, UK Black Pride 2020-03-31 - Singapore's highest court upheld a law that criminalizes sex between men, dismissing three separate appeals that argued that the legislation was unconstitutional, Reuters ...

Gay News

NCLR condemns Idaho law barring transgender girls from sports 2020-03-30 - BOISE, ID — The National Center for Lesbian Rights strongly condemns Idaho Governor Brad Little's decision to sign HB 500, a law that ...

Gay News

Gay ex-NBA player Jason Collins tests positive for coronavirus 2020-03-25 - Jason Collins—a former NBA player who became, in 2014, the first openly gay player to play in the league—said that he tested positive ...

Gay News

CMSA events shut down through May 9 2020-03-20 - Because of COVID-19-related concerns, The Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) is expanding its suspending all game play, team practices and social ...

Gay News

LGBT Hall of Fame bowling fundraiser on April 4 UPDATE 2020-03-10 - Update: This event has been postponed. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, now entering its 30th year, announced that it will hold its ...

Gay News

Debbie Pacchioni, from soccer to renewable energy industry 2020-03-08 - Soccer has been in Debbie Pacchioni's blood since she was a 4-year-old girl watching her father suit up for his first practice. "I ...

Gay News

Women to report, produce Blackhawks match on March 8 2020-03-02 - International Women's Day is on Sunday, March 8—and NBC Sports Network will celebrate by using an all-female crew to broadcast and produce game ...

Gay News

NBA, WNBA figures take part in dinner, talk at Center 2020-03-02 - Former NBA and WNBA players and members of the NBA/WNBA family recently participated in a conversation with LGBTQ youth and allies from the ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.