Bart Baratti played the entire second half with a broken left hand in Miami football’s loss to Army on Oct. 20. But no one could’ve guessed.
The junior defensive back stood out while filling in for three injured RedHawk safeties, making a career-high nine tackles (including one tackle for loss) and breaking up one of Army’s two passing attempts.
He impressed head coach Chuck Martin with how disruptive and active he played.
“If we had one of those step things on Baratti, he probably ran ten miles,” Martin said with a laugh. “And a full speed ten miles.”
But nobody, not even Baratti’s teammates or coaches, knew he had a broken hand. He didn’t tell anyone about the injury until after the game.
“I didn’t even know he was hurt,” Martin said. “He never said anything to anyone. That’s Baratti. Never told the trainers.”
Martin didn’t discover Baratti’s injury until the sports leadership and management major showed up to Sunday film study with his hand in a cast.
The break occurred on the back end of Miami’s last defensive play of the first half, a fourth-down, goal-line stop that kept the RedHawks’ deficit to only a touchdown heading into halftime. Baratti accidentally trapped his hand between the facemasks of two Golden Knight offensive linemen.
“I felt a pop and knew something was wrong right off the bat, but I didn’t inform anybody,” Baratti said. “I really thought it wasn’t broken. I knew something was messed up with it at half, but I just didn’t really focus on that. I focused on our game plan and focused on trying to get a win.”
With the injury-depleted RedHawks defense lacking depth, he knew he couldn’t come out. He played the rest of the game, and as his statistics suggest, played the best game of his collegiate career.
“That’s just how I am,” Baratti said. “That’s just who I was raised to be. Not come out with something little, you know? If we’re not bleeding out of our head – that’s what my mom always said – like, ‘Don’t come get me if it’s not that big of a deal. If you can run, breathe and talk, you’re good.’”
To the average person, a broken hand is a serious injury. Even to a professional football player, a broken hand is a serious injury.
Last season, New York Jets quarterback Josh McCown broke his left non-throwing hand and missed his team’s final three games. This preseason, Chicago Bears defensive lineman Leonard Floyd fractured his right hand and waited until game day to announce he’d play Week One, three weeks after the injury.
Baratti only got a week and a half to recover before Miami takes on Buffalo tonight. He’ll be playing with a splint on his left hand.
When asked if the injury might affect his performance going forward: “Not at all. It’s all good.”