Greg Fusco lived on the softball fields.
He traveled around the state for weekend tournaments. He practiced with teammates after his day job as a maintenance worker for the city of Dunedin. He met his wife through the sport, proposing to her on a field with the ring inside a halved yellow softball.
“He was the player everybody wanted on his team because he was a great guy,” said Mike Ogliaruso, a lieutenant for the Clearwater Police Department who used to play with Fusco.
So it came as a shock, and a uniquely painful tragedy, when Fusco, 37, died Sunday about two weeks after taking a line drive to the head. According to a St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office report, the ball struck Fusco of Palm Harbor in the left temple while he was playing a tournament Dec. 2 near Jacksonville. A friend said he was pitching at the time.
He was unconscious at first but came to by the time the ambulance arrived, the report says, noting he appeared dazed. Fusco was flown to UF Health Jacksonville for treatment with what the report said were non-life-threatening injuries.
A GoFundMe campaign started by a friend to raise money for his wife, Taylor, said he had suffered a skull fracture and was rushed into surgery. His recovery looked promising at first.
“I was worried, but I was confident,” said Taylor Lang, a friend who thought Fusco’s well-known stubbornness would help him pull through.
But his condition later turned for the worst. Doctors pronounced him dead early Sunday. The cause of death is unclear; an autopsy report wasn’t complete this week.
Adding to the tragedy was the timing. Fusco had gotten married not even a month before. The couple had just returned from their honeymoon in Hawaii when he was hospitalized, Lang, 24, said. According to the couple’s wedding website, they met on the fields while he was playing ball with her dad.
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