One week ago today, I got my face readjusted by a line-drive back up the middle. I have no concrete way of knowing but based on age-specific averages, the exit velocity of the baseball was probably between 68-75mph. I was probably about 25-30 feet away from the batter when the ball was hit but it would take a much smarter math wizard than I to figure out how much time I had between bat contact and face contact. (Hint: it wasn’t much)
Just to be clear, I was standing behind an L-screen and my entire body was behind it when the ball was struck. What I wasn’t aware of, was the small hole that had opened up between the netting and the pole that it was attached to right about face-height for a pitcher as they follow through with their motion. The ball found it and my maxillofacial bones without too much trouble.
I was immediately turned and dropped with a handful of blood and a gaggle of 7th grade boys running to my side to check on me. While it happened fairly quickly, I remember most of it quite vividly.
Since I’ve made it about seven days, I figured I’d document a few things I don’t want to forget going forward:
- I am a lucky/blessed man. Depending on what your belief system is, I am fortunate on multiple fronts.
- It could have been a lot worse. There’s a chance this story could have never been pinned and I’ve thought about that more than once.
- I have people in my life who care deeply for me and I hope I never take that for granted. My wish is the same for each and every one of you… to have this and to know this (without enduring a similar experience). The calls, texts, food, prayers, emails, texts, calls, notes, kind words, hugs, etc. Y’all are awesome.
- With all of it’s faults, we do have a pretty spectacular medical system in the United States; my journey isn’t over yet but the speed, the expertise, and the technology that I have seen over the last week has been pretty impressive.
- People are understanding. Everyone has deadlines and needs but most I’ve dealt with have been understanding of my situation and provided grace as I return back to full speed.
- Protein shakes aren’t that tasty. I’m looking down the barrel of a 6-week soft food diet and trying to find things to keep me from wasting away. I’ve tried a couple so far and I had a buddy bring me a new mixable powder today but I can’t say that I’m ready to go all-in on a liquid diet forever, just yet.
- I didn’t realize how much I talked. Sorry all, maybe the next 6-8 weeks will train me to be a little slower to speak and quicker to listen. Strong verbs, short sentences. *
- It was only a matter of time. It’s kind of morbid to think about but I’ve been climbing into batting cages (or fields, bullpens, sand lots) for over 11 years as a coach/father and you just have to figure with the law of averages that at some point, I was going to get hit. I’ve taken plenty of arm and leg shots, but I’m assuming this will be the one I remember the longest.
- It wasn’t his fault. Note to self: You’ve reached out to both of his parents and will continue to do so, just help him to understand nothing about this was his fault. He hit a great ball and it was a total freak accident, don’t let him wear it.
- I’ll be back. It’ll take a minute and I’m sure it will rattle me a little, but I love those dudes and that game too much not to saddle up and give it another go.
- They know best and they mean well. There are days where your wife and your mom are probably right, even when you don’t agree with them. Let them be right sometimes.
- I’ve never had orthodontia. But I guess now is as good of a time as any.
- I turned down the plates and screws. It’s his job, it’s how he gets paid, obviously he’s going to recommend it. But I don’t have to do it. I’ll endure the protein shakes and mashed potatoes over metal and surgery. Sure hope I’m right.
- Medical stuff wigs me out. Pretty sure that CT Scan shot lasers through my brain and I didn’t like it one bit.
- Telling others is weird. Writing this post, telling people via text or phone, or generally sharing in any capacity feels odd. It feels like I’m bragging but I promise, I’m not. It’s why I haven’t posted on social media or anywhere else yet, I don’t want it to seem like I’m pandering for empathy. I know you care.
- I’m glad it was me. Do you know how bad I would feel right now if I had one of my players throwing batting practice that night to the other ones? I don’t think I could sleep.
- My business partner is a pretty solid dude. I’d have fired me long ago. He just rolls with it and continually picks up the slack.
- “At least 3 fractures.” Bones (and our bodies) are crazy things. They break and then they heal. Hard for me to reconcile that fact with other theories out there.
I’m sure there’s more.
I’m re-adjusting. It’ll take time but I’ll get back to 100. If you want to see me in rough-ER-aftermath-shape, I’ve added a picture after the break. I don’t blame you if it’s not your thing.
*Bernadine Healy (more…)