June 20, 2012— -- It was the bottom of the eighth inning as the San Diego Padres took on the Texas Rangers when the audience heard the Rangers announcer have what sounded like an on-air medical meltdown. Some took his rambling as a sign of a stroke.
Dave Barnett's play-by-play of Monday night's baseball game took a bizarre turn when he began to speak about a botched robbery and henchman in the midst of the game
"[The] Go-ahead run is at fifth ... on what Adams is insisting on calling a botched robbery. What actually happened was his henchman …," the announcer rambled incoherently.
Monday night's broadcast went silent for several seconds as Barnett's microphone may have been switched off. Many fans now fear that the veteran announcer was having a stroke.
Barnett eventually recovered, and this morning the Rangers told ABC News that the long-time announcer believed the incident "to be the recurrence of migraine headaches."
This is not the first time something like this has happened to an on-air personality on live television. Last February Serene Branson, a seasoned CBS Los Angeles reporter, gave a garbled report during the Grammys. She was later diagnosed with migraine-related symptoms.
Doctors say sometimes the symptoms pass quickly, but that incoherent speech could also warn of a stroke
"Part of a blood vessel can rupture, such as a balloon in an aneurysm. Those need to be treated early," Dr. Jim Moody, a neurosurgeon at Methodist Dallas Medical Center, told ABC News.
Barnett did go on to finish the rest of Monday's game, but he'll sit out the next two while he undergoes further tests.
What Led to Dave Barnett's On-Air Meltdown?
Dr. J Mocco, associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt University, said that that Barnett may have had aphasia, which is an impairment of language ability marked by a difficulty in getting words out. This is often a result of head injury or stroke.
He said that in the medical community, it's called "word salad" -- like a tossed salad but with words."There are different types of aphasia, where you have slurred speech. Then there are aphasias like he had, where you substitute words that don't make sense. His brain is thinking of the right words, but they come out wrong," Mocco said.
Migraines can sometimes alter the blood flow to brain, he told ABC News.
"There's been a study that shows if you have a blockage in an artery leading to the brain, you lose 2 million brain cells every minute," Mocco said. "Sometimes people will suffer these kinds of symptoms, then they get better and go away. They may think that it was a passing thing. But it is actually crucial to go in and get it checked. The first symptoms are often critical warning signs."
Dr. Steven F. Huege, assistant professor of clinical psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, added that strategically located brain tumors and migraines can also lead to aphasia, and that they must be taken seriously.
"Patients who experience these symptoms would get a neurological exam, a detailed history would be taken, and they would likely have blood work to rule out an electrolyte disturbance," Huege said. "They would also likely get some kind of brain imaging."