CHICAGO (CBS) — Kyle McAleer feels lucky to be alive, a week after a piece of the Wrigley Field scoreboard pelted the bucket-wearing Cubs fan on the head.

The young man from Iowa believes that bucket saved his life.

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McAleer is superstitious. So when the Cubs fell behind the Diamondbacks on July 24, he and his family put buckets on their heads as “rally caps” in hopes of sparking a rally.

The bucket didn’t help the Cubs stage a comeback, but it still proved exceptionally lucky for McAleer, when a 3- or 4-pound scoreboard pin fell and struck the 20-year-old in the head. The pin left a large crack in the bucket, and a bloody gash in McAleer’s head, but it could have been worse.

McAleer said he could have been killed if not for the bucket.

“I never knew what hit me until like an hour or two later. I just knew that there was blood coming out of my head, and I’m bleeding, and I’m trying to get something to stop the bleeding,” he said.

It wasn’t until another fan picked up the 8- to 10-inch long metal pin that McAleer realized what had hit him.

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The McAleer family has been wearing buckets on their heads as “rally caps” for three years, ever since former Cubs infielder Starlin Castro and teammates started wearing them to celebrate wins.

Kyle McAleer said he put a bucket on his head about a half-inning before the pin fell from the venerable hand-operated scoreboard at Wrigley Field.

“The doctors said it could have definitely been more serious,” he said. “Major head trauma, probably a fractured skull, brain injury most likely. If anything, it could have very well been fatal if I wasn’t wearing the bucket, because the bucket; not only did it cushion the object’s fall, but it also deflected it in a way.”

The blood-stained bucket now sits on a shelf in McAleer’s house in Scranton, Iowa.

His ordeal is far from over. He has five staples in his head, and they will have to be removed. He also will have to be monitored to make sure no other issues crop up as a result of his injury.

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The Cubs said a loose pin rolled out of the scoreboard when a tile was being changed. They also said the scoreboard is now secure.