One of the scarier moments of the college hoops offseason took place in Providence on a night in mid-May when Joe Sharkey, a sophomore guard on Brown’s basketball team, was put in the hospital after an altercation at 2 a.m. on the street in Providence.
There are differing accounts as to what happened that night, but the one inarguable aspect is that Sharkey was punched — as a Providence police affidavit describes it, “without warning and unprovoked” — in the face, knocking him over with enough force that he slammed his head on the cement sidewalk.
The resulting injuries were bad enough that there were concerns that Sharkey wouldn’t live through the night.
The police found him unresponsive with his eyes wide open and blood pouring from his mouth.
Deputy Police Chief Thomas F. Oates III thought that the felony assault might quickly turn into a murder investigation.
“We were very concerned right from the very beginning whether he was going to make it or not,” he said. Oates said that it took about three or four days before investigators learned that Sharkey would survive.
Even so, he said, the police wondered whether the Brown student would suffer permanent brain injuries.
The good news?
Three months later, and Sharkey has bounced back enough that he’s reportedly planning on taking at least one class this fall.
“Physically, he walks around fine,” assistant coach TJ Sorrentine told the paper. “He’s still weak and he’s lost a lot of weight. But he looked great and knows everything that is going on.”