Matt Imhof, the Phillies’ prospect who sustained a traumatic eye injury last year, is retiring from professional baseball.
Imhof says he won’t be defined by his worst day in this piece on ESPN.com. He wrote about that day and the aftermath of suffering his injury.
Sitting on an athletic training table in Brevard County, Florida, on June 24, 2016, a brief moment of clarity came amid the chaos.
“Mick, am I going to lose my eye?”
I didn’t ask because I didn’t know the answer; I asked because I needed to hear a lie. I needed the fake reassurance that everything was going to be OK because, in that moment, I honestly didn’t know if it would be.
I got to the hospital and once the doctors realized how bad the damage was to my eye, they sent me to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, the leading eye hospital in the country. Mickey couldn’t make the trip with me, so from this point on, I was on my own.
I woke up in a hospital room and three doctors walked in. They were holding my CAT scans and clipboards and had the standard “I have bad news” look on their faces.
The doctors explained to me I was never going to see out of my right eye again. They said some of the best surgeons in the world were going to try to reconstruct my eye but, in all likelihood, I was going to need a second surgery to have the eye removed.
I’ve never felt as alone as I did in that moment; my world had been completely shattered. Not only had I lost half my vision, but now I was going to look different too.
It truly amazes me how some people can turn a tragedy that changes their entire life into something positive. It’s not easy, and it takes time, but it’ll be interesting to see the path Imhof takes into the future. He already knows what he wants his future to hold.
To be completely honest, I don’t know what is next for me. I want a career that allows me to make a positive impact on the community, but I’m still trying to find the best fit. I re-enrolled in classes at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I’m currently finishing my degree in business finance and I’m the undergraduate assistant pitching coach to the baseball program. I don’t know if my career lies in coaching or in business, but I do know that I cherish every moment I’m able to step on the diamond and help these kids achieve their dreams. I have never doubted my ability to be successful in life and I don’t plan on starting now; whether it’s a baseball field or a boardroom, I know my future is bright.
He may be retired from professional baseball, but it’ll be the future of Imhof off the field that will tell the story of his life. Good luck to him.
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter @nickpiccone and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.