On-air stumble by Rangers' announcer could be signal

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 20 at 12:07 AM

DALLAS — The Texas Rangers confirmed Tuesday that play-by-play announcer Dave Barnett will miss the next two games as he undergoes testing for a possible stroke.

It was the bottom of the eighth inning against the Padres Monday night when the usually fluid Barnett started speaking gibberish during the TV broadcast.

"[The] Go-ahead run is at fifth," said a halting Barnett, "On what Adams is insisting on calling a botched robbery. What actually happened was his henchman..."

Several seconds of silence followed. It's possible that technicians turned off his microphone in mid-sentence.

"It certainly is warning to a potential stroke," said Methodist Dallas neurosurgeon Dr. Jim Moody.

From the sound of it, Barnett experienced a transient ischemic attack (TIA) Moody said.

In some cases, the symptoms pass. In others, it can indicate a serious future health problem.

"A blood vessel can close off or occlude," Moody said. "Part of a blood vessel can rupture, such as a balloon in an aneurism. Those need to be treated early."

It's not the first time for such a high-profile health event.

In June, News 8 featured cell phone video of Diane McPeters in the midst of a stroke. She is clearly conscious, but lucky to have survived without long-term damage.

Last year, Los Angeles TV reporter Serene Branson's rambling post-Grammy live shot turned out to be more minor: A migraine, which is what Dave Barnett believes he experienced.

Barnett went on to finish Monday's broadcast, but will sit out at least the next two games for tests following recurring migraine headaches.

"Certainly just because he finished the broadcast doesn't mean all is well," Moody said. "If I were in the booth with him as a physician, I'd say, 'Not a good idea; let's go somewhere and get this evaluated.'"

Doctors say it's a big mistake to try to tough out symptoms of a stroke, because effective treatment relies on a quick diagnosis. It can make a difference in life, death, or serious impairment.

The most common symptoms of stroke can be remembered by the acronym FAST:

  • 'F' for facial droop'
  • 'A' for arm weakness
  • 'S' for slurred or confused speech
  • 'T' for time — which is critical

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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