A's Murphy details 'weird' collapsed lung, timeline on return


A’s catcher Sean Murphy didn’t arrive with the rest of the pitchers and catchers last week in Mesa, Ariz. due to a collapsed lung.

Murphy was available to the media on Wednesday, however, to give an update on this “weird” injury that occurred, causing him to have two surgeries a few weeks back. But the timetable on his return appears promising.

“It was a weird thing,” Murphy said. “So I woke up, it was like January 28 --I don’t remember the exact date -- and I just had chest pains, just had tightness in my chest so I figured it was COVID, but it just kept getting worse. So we went to the emergency room, they did a chest X-ray and they said, ‘You know, your lung is fully collapsed.’”

He was informed he would have to have surgery immediately. 

“It kind of sprung up on me too,” Murphy said.

Murphy underwent two surgeries in total.

“Let me clear that up,” Murphy said. “The first surgery was to put a chest tube in. That one had to be done just to make sure my lung didn’t collapse and kill me basically. The second one was where the decision came in. So usually when this happens, they usually just kind of re-inflate the lung, put the chest tube in and get the air out of the chest cavity and then leave it at that and let it heal. There is a surgery where they can essentially prop up the lung against your chest wall and it decreases the chance of it happening again.”


He explained the reasoning behind deciding to have the second surgery, about two-to-three days following the first one, was important in part to the fact that the team flies when traveling so much. Flying is a big risk factor for a recurring lung collapse. 

“For my own peace of mind, I decided to get the surgery to just not be worried every time the plane takes off -- that it’s not going to happen again,” Murphy said. 

Murphy then added he’s not sure what had caused his lung to collapse, but the possibility, as reporters were told by A’s general manager David Forst last week, was that it could have happened in his sleep during a cough.

“I can’t pinpoint anything,” Murphy said.

Ultimately, it turned out to be a spontaneous pneumothorax, which means this happened without an apparent injury. It’s a rare occurrence.

“It just sometimes happens,” Murphy said.

Despite his calm demeanor, Murphy admitted he was a little scared going into the emergency room, and added hearing “collapsed lung,” was scarier than most might think.

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“Thank God for modern medicine,” he said. 

Murphy, who was fourth in AL Rookie of the Year voting last season, will be hitting in the next few days, he said, but did catch some balls off of the machine on Tuesday and said he felt great.

Murphy’s goal is to get back by the end of spring training, but as his doctors and surgeons said, it’s feasible for him to be ready to play by Opening Day.