I started this blog to share my son's quest to play Division I baseball and all of the complexities associated with it. Usually I use a bit of humor to explain some of the oddities that happen along the way. Frankly, no one would believe it.
With that said, I leave the humor aside to write about something that happened yesterday that dropped my heart from the left side of my chest into my stomach. Buddy's number was called in relief in the 3rd inning of the second game of a double header. He had been prepared to go in for the past three days. The weather for the weekend of baseball was frigid (26-32 degrees with a chilly breeze). Everyone was cold...the players, coaches and umpires. The fans sat in the stadium with blankets and heavy coats waiting for the games to finish.
Buddy ran in from the bullpen with his walk on music blaring in the background. I took so many photos that my camera could not keep up with me. As he faced his first batter, the batter hit a single. Unfazed, he was able to work his way out of any trouble with no one scoring. One inning was less than 5 minutes, so he was in a groove and working fast. Then it happened. He was beginning to tire and threw a ball right over the plate. The batter hit it squarely and with force. The ball hit Buddy in the head and knocked him to the ground. All I could see was the ball, his head and hat fly into the air and land on the ground. I got up out of my seat ready to run onto the field, but he was able to get up on his own and proceeded to throw two more balls to the catcher to show everyone that he was all right....but was he? The pitching coach walked out and took him out the game and he disappeared into the dugout. I walked over to the dugout to see for my self that he was fine, but he was not visible. After a moment the pitching coach took me into the locker room to see him.
I was not sure what I was going to see. Where did the ball hit him? Careers have been ended with a ball hitting a head. There has been blindness and brain damage. This is really serious and I was scared. As I walked to the locker room, he approached me with ice on his face. There was a large red mark on his left check. He said that he was knocked out for a moment and got up because he did not want the batter to know that he got the best of him...are you kidding me? He had a strange expression on his face and said that the doctor said that he did not have a concussion and he would be fine....Let's review....a ball was hit squarely by a metal bat and flew and hit him directly on his face.....the doctor performed a 30 second neurological check and said that he was "fine." Then the doctor left the stadium. The trainer who looked like he was in 9th grade told me the same thing. I asked the trainer who would check on him during the night. He said that he would follow up through a text....a text? What if the injury is so bad that Buddy does not wake up? A text is going to sit in his mailbox and do nothing to assure me that he is going to be "fine." Yet, this was not about me. It was about my son and his health and life.
I left Buddy with the trainer and sat in the bleachers. I was scheduled to leave and drive the 3 hour route home, but something was bothering me. I'm not a neurosurgeon, but it seems to me that the kid needs more medical care or tests in lieu of take two Tylenol and call me in the morning. He had blacked out and was talking nonsense to the players and coaches....I was not leaving.
I grabbed Buddy and told the trainer that we were headed to the ER. We sat in the hospital waiting room for only a few minutes before he was sent to CAT Scan. He was still acting odd. He could not remember the date or his social security number or what he said after the injury. It was scary for both of us. Yet, we kept the mood light and joked about how hard his head is, how he got the bruise under his eye, what he mumbled to the opposing players, cursing off the first baseman and coaches....all kind of humorous....yet...not...He had his iPod and was singing a Katie Perry song...now I know that he was hit in the head! (not really, KP is pretty good).
After the scan and x-rays were reviewed, he truly did not have a bleed or facial fracture. He was the luckiest guy on the planet. One millimeter up, down or to the right, he would not have been able to get up on his own accord. Truly miraculous! I thanked God for this one over and over again. I still see the hit in my mind. During the night, I had it on a rewind and replay button. It was horrific, yet such a miracle that he was not truly hurt.
While in the ER, I asked him what I should name this post...his comment was "ouch"...so there you have it....it sums it all up...ouch!". Buddy is out of baseball for at least a week. The doctor was adamant that he not return for 7 days. She also mentioned that there was a possibility of a late bleed so he should be aware of the symptoms and report them immediately. She handed him a paper to read to contact the doctor if the following happens...she did not review it with him...he did not read it....so I had to teach him about intracranial pressure and to call me immediately if he has vision changes, dizziness, severe headache, etc.
So there you have it. I watch the games in which he does not play and understand his frustration of not being called in. On the other hand, I watch when he is in the game and now I have a brand new fear....that he will be hit in the head again. I do wonder how this will affect him...whether he will be more tentative on the mound or more aggressive....
While we enjoyed a late supper and some very rotten Merlot, Buddy had a smile on his now swollen face....no one scored....we won the game.....my earned run average is still zero....I had to add..."yes, and you are alive and well enough to enjoy it...." By the way, his new walk out song has been changed to "I get knocked down...but I get up again..." by Chubba Wubba....