Update: “Baseball: It’s just a game”

Two months ago I was standing on a baseball field when sports and life were put into perspective. Sports has helped us cope with many things, but at the end of the day it truly is just a game and means a lot less than we try to make it out to be. I shared my experience through this blog. And if you haven’t read it you can do so by clicking here. I wrote the story to express my thoughts and share what I had just taken in. The response was incredible. It was overwhelming. The blog has been viewed more times than I could have imagined. Emails poured into my inbox, some stopped to comment and others spread it on to their friends. The story was ran in newspapers in Shelton and Gibbon and for that I owe Steve Glenn a big thank you. I asked for anyone to share an update on the young man in the story. Tonight I received one that will explain everything the young man went through and still goes through as he continues his recovery. I wanted to share the update to anyone who found interest in the blog I wrote.

Here is the update:

Thank you more than words can express for your wonderfully insightful article Baseball: It’s just a game. I agree that baseball is just a game. It’s a wonderful life-guiding exercise disguised as a game. For many kids, its the place they first learn that they can depend on others, and that others can depend on them to do their best. It is where they learn to play by the rules. It is a game that requires each player to stand in the batters box and put it on the line to help the team. When they are in the field, and the ball is hit their way, either they make the play, or they learn to improve. When they make the great play, for that moment, they get to bask in the glory. When they miss a play, they make a promise to themselves that they will “get the next one”. But…it’s just a game, and it stays a game ..if the teams pull together. If they keep their heads up. If they keep fighting. They can do it. Remember..” It’s not over. It’s never over”.

I missed going to the 2011 Junior Legion State tournament by six hours and fifteen minutes. The team was set to drive to Beatrice at 7:30A.M. At 12:15 A.M. My wife and I received a phone call from our daughter, telling us that our grandson and a friend had been in a terrible car accident on a country road, and that we needed to get to the emergency room at Kearney’s Good Samaritan Hospital. Dylan’s injuries included: a broken right tibia and fibula, a broken pelvis, a collapsed lung, a lacerated kidney , a lacerated liver, a crack in his T5 vertebrae and severe brain trauma. He remained in a coma for 13 days. During his stay in intensive care, he had a constant stream of friends, team mates, and neighbors who came to support Dylan, his family, and each other with many acts of kindness and generosity. For many of the young visitors, they just needed to be there with each other, to find a way to support Dylan & Seth, and for some to face the fact that life is fragile for the first time. After he came out of the coma, Dylan was still heavily sedated and he still had all sorts of tubes attached. As the sedation was reduced, he was continually moving his legs. When the nurse asked him what he was doing, he just said “ I’m trying to steal second base”. Dylan was in the ICU for four weeks, and then went to Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln for another three weeks. At the end of the second week at Madonna, his mother (who is a nurse) talked the doctor into letting her take Dylan to support his football team members at their first game. He sat along the sideline in his wheelchair to support the teammates who had been there for him when he needed their support. Dylan was released from Madonna on the morning of the homecoming game. In his absence, his classmates selected him as the Junior Class homecoming attendant. The following week, the Orthopedic surgeon authorized him to walk on his repaired leg. Dylan has been back to school part time for a week. He has Physical, Occupational, and Speech therapies three times a week, and can now jog on a treadmill. His brain surgeon examined him, and says he should be OK. to play football next year. Dylan has set his goals higher. He wants to get in shape to play basketball, track, and baseball first. He and his team have some unfinished business at the 2012 state baseball tournament. He is keeping his head up. He is still fighting. He knows they can do it. It’s not over. It’s never over.
The friend, who happened to be driving when the accident happened was also fighting for his life. He also had a head injury, was in the ICU for two weeks, and also went to Madonna. He is also making a good recovery. The friend is from a neighboring town, and has been a friendly sports opponent over the years. Its hard to guess how many times they have shaken each others hand after a game. When they were in a contest, they each did their best to win, but after the contest, they were respectful of each other. Seth’s father , who is a talented artist, sat down with Dylan’s little sister Lindsay and they colored together. Seth’s dad drew a picture of the boys respective school mascots facing this tragedy as pals has been a comfort, and is a symbol of sports bringing the two communities together in a time of need. I know it helped Lindsay cope with the tragedy.
By the way, Dylan’s older brother Eben was a member of the Nebraska little league state tournament umpiring crew. Thank you for your kind words to him, they were a comfort at a difficult time. Your article has given many people an opportunity to put the individual game in perspective, and a second chance to appreciate each other.

The update is positive in so many ways, but we continue to think of Dylan on his recovery. It would be fantastic to see him back on the playing fields doing what he loves to do. We also think of his friend, Seth, who is also recovering from injuries sustained in the accident.

If you are a fan, player, coach or official of the game please understand that while it is important it is “just a game”.

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