Thursday, October 13, 2011

TRU baseball team devasted by injury to teammate

Daily News Sports Reporter 
The TRU WolfPack baseball team is reeling after a "devastating" injury left one of its players faced with the possibility of losing his right eye. 
Tyler Lowey, a fourth-year infielder from Calgary, was injured Sunday in a game against the Douglas Royals at the WolfPack's Thanksgiving Classic at NorBrock Stadium.
Lowey, 20, was hit in the eye with a ball while batting. Reports indicate that a pitched ball deflected off Lowey's bat and struck him in the face. 
Ray Chadwick, head coach of the WolfPack, was out of town on the weekend so didn't see the accident, but said he has been in touch with Lowey every day since it happened. 
"He lost his eye," Chadwick said. "I wasn't there and I don't know much, but . . . he lost his eye."
Lowey, who has been released from Royal Inland Hospital, returned to his home in Calgary on Wednesday and couldn't be reached for comment.
 "He's always been a high-energy, good-spirited kid," Chadwick said. "I talked to him right after, when he was in tears, and I've talked to him other times, when he was laughing again."
The WolfPack plays in the Canadian College Baseball Conference, whose season runs from March to May. TRU always plays a fall exhibition season, and the Thanksgiving Classic serves as a final weekend of play. 
According to Chadwick, the doctors told Lowey that he wouldn't see again out of the injured eye. In such cases, it is protocol to remove the eye, although Lowey's injured eye hasn't been removed yet. 
The news was a blow to his teammates, who had a meeting with TRU director of athletics and recreation Ken Olynyk and Peter Soberlak, TRU's chairman of physical education who also is a sports psychologist. 
"We wanted to make sure (the players) were OK, too," Olynyk said. "It's a situation where someone's hurt and you don't know what's going to happen - we just wanted to address that." 
Lowey was a member of the WolfPack team that won the CCBC title in 2009, and listed that as his greatest moment in the 2011 WolfPack media guide. 
During the 2011 CCBC regular season, he went 23-for-77 (.299), driving in 16 runs and stealing eight bases, to go along with five doubles and four triples. 
Chadwick said he had penciled in Lowey to bat second and split his time at first or second base or in the outfield during the spring season. Lowey also would have been available to pitch - he threw a complete game victory on Saturday against the Okanagan A's. 
Chadwick has been around baseball a long time, so has seen his share of injuries. But this is much, much different.
"With a shoulder or elbow or knee injury, you can have surgery, do rehab and come back," he said. "But when you're not going to come back, it's devastating."I tell the guys to play hard - this may be your last at-bat or last inning. . . . I never thought, in a million years, something like this was going to happen."
It was the second scary injury to mar what Chadwick referred to as a "crappy fall."
In late August, pitcher Kevin Cramer of Camp Verde, Ariz., broke his C5 and C6 vertebrae during a day of fun in the Thompson River. 
The WolfPack had a Sunday game canceled, so the players went to the river and set up a slip-n-slide, with a two-foot jump into the river. On what was to be one of the final runs of the day, Cramer, 23, took a turn, but didn't make the jump and landed awkwardly. 
Chadwick said there initially was some paralysis, but added that Cramer is making strides and was released from hospital last week.
"He's almost back to normal," Chadwick said. "He actually came to our games (on the weekend) and he's under the impression that by the time we get inside in mid-November, he'll be ready."

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