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A former Mississippi State baseball player who instantly became a fan favorite with his pre-game ritual of doing backflips in the outfield is now fighting for his life in a Miami, Fla., hospital.
Ryan Duffy, an outfielder and catcher during his Bulldog career, was involved in a diving accident in Key West, Fla., on Friday and was air-lifted to a Miami hospital with a severe neck injury. Surgery was performed on three broken vertebra in Duffy's neck.
Information on Duffy's condition has been extremely guarded and the MSU baseball office has only been able to pick up bits and pieces through his parents and family members of other players. A team spokesman with the Bulldogs confirmed Duffy's injury was from a diving accident and not an automobile crash as was initially reported.
MSU baseball coach John Cohen said the program has been trying to monitor the situation, but there's not much information coming in.
"We don't know a whole lot at this point," Cohen said on Monday. "From what I've been told, the doctors are non-committing at this time. Certainly our prayers are with the Duffy family."
Duffy was second on the team last season with 10 home runs and a .358 batting average. He was third with 41 runs batted in for the Bulldogs.
For his career, Duffy hit .334 with 27 home runs and 99 RBIs in 132 games played, including 90 starts over four years.
"There's no question his spirit and his fight are what he's got going in his favor right now," Cohen said. "He's a special young man and Mississippi State is going to do whatever we can to support him through this battle."