Royals pitcher Brian Flynn feels ‘fortunate’ after scary fall through barn roof

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Brian Flynn during the 2016 season.
Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Brian Flynn during the 2016 season.

For Brian Flynn, it was one final job before leaving for spring training.

In the months after the 2016 season, the Royals relief pitcher had gotten married and moved into a new house on a lake near McAlester, Okla. As he prepared to pack up for another baseball season, he wanted to make sure the roof on his barn would not let any rain in while he was gone.

It was supposed to be a simple job, Flynn says, just replacing a few roofing panels. It would turn into a frightening accident that could threaten the first half of his season.

Flynn, 26, does not remember much. He knows he fell 12 feet onto a concrete slab after losing his balance and crashing through the roof. His wife found him unconscious on the floor and called paramedics. Considering the force of the fall, he escaped largely unscathed, sustaining a broken rib and three nondisplaced fractures in his vertebrae.

“Pretty fortunate,” Flynn said, pondering what could have happened.

On Wednesday, he was placed on the 60-day disabled list and could miss the first two months of the season. The move opened up a spot on the 40-man roster, which was filled by free agent Travis Wood. Flynn said he expected to spend three to four weeks resting and rehabbing before beginning another throwing program.

For Flynn, the timing of the injury is less than ideal. In 2016, he posted a 2.60 ERA in 55  1/3 innings, earning a bullpen role after missing the 2015 season because of a back injury. He joined the Royals before that year in a trade that sent right-hander Aaron Crow to the Miami Marlins.

“We worked on it the whole day before,” Flynn said of the fall. “It was just a job. I knew there were some old panels that I couldn’t walk on until they got replaced. I wish I could tell you what happened, because I knew I couldn’t walk on it. But the next thing I knew, I was waking up with the paramedics. So I had to have lost my balance or stepped backwards through one.”