Ryan Westmoreland

someoneanywhere

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He was introduced with the rest of the Drive reserves before last night's playoff game. The first thing that strikes is just how big he is -- he must be something to watch to be that gifted and that big at the same time. And of course you pull for him. He was very tentative in all his movements, even the simple half-walk, half-jog out of the dugout, and indeed even the fist bump he shared once he reached the baseline. Here's to hoping that he comes busting out one day.
 

RobertTillman

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Ryan's tweet from today...

Headed to Fort Myers intensifying rehab. Can't wait. Great job to the Greenville Drive! Awesome season
 

Bdanahy14

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From that article; it talks about a timetable that a person can rehabilitate and puts a young athletic body like Ryan's at 36 months or so...

Sorry if this is way off or sounds stupid - but after a certain time table the brain won't allow the body to rehab? Is that a certainty?

Also, I got to say - if he can come back and be close to himself - there is something to be said about the maturation proces that one goes through when dealing with stuff as heavy as this. We saw it with Lester - if a young guy is lucky enough to regain health and strength - a battle like this can instill a sense of determination and work ethic that is hard to gain elsewhere.


But man, what a story - good for him.
 

someoneanywhere

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It's really a tremendously inspiring story, but this part jumped out to me "He can drive a car again and lead a relatively normal life." Whatever happens with his baseball career now is gravy, the kid has fought back to a normal, quality life. That is and of itself is amazing.

I hope the kid makes, what a story that will be.
What jumped out to me was the reference to Hazelbaker and how surprised he was to see Westmo and his progress since September. When I saw him in Greenville last month, I thought he'd be lucky to be doing anything like simple drills, even just catching and throwing, by ST. Awesome.
 

allaboutthesox

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It's really a tremendously inspiring story, but this part jumped out to me "He can drive a car again and lead a relatively normal life." Whatever happens with his baseball career now is gravy, the kid has fought back to a normal, quality life. That is and of itself is amazing.

I hope the kid makes, what a story that will be.
It is the kind of story that Disney movies are made out of.
 

loshjott

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Great article, and a sobering reminder of just how difficult it's going to be for him to come back to the majors.

[Westmoreland] looks so good, so impressive, that it seems like the former Portsmouth High star is rehabbing from any another injury, with a defined process, and a logical and predictable return date. But he’s not, and this process is uneven and anything but certain. Some actions, like swinging a bat, have come easily. Others -- simple things like picking up a bat or glove off the ground -- are not, and the dichotomy between seeing him hit balls 350 feet and then have difficulty balancing to pick up a water bottle can be jarring.
 

Pearl Wilson

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The plan is for Westmoreland to spend most of the winter in Fort Myers -- he'll come back to Rhode Island for a couple of weeks for Christmas and New Year's Day -- all the way up until the start of spring training in February.

He still is uncharted waters, and no one involved is in a rush to set any timetables in his recovery. Just taking batting practice at this stage, barely eight months after his surgery, represents a major victory. But every little step brings him a little closer to a return to the field.
 

SoxSport

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There is an NFL player who had this operation when he was young, and seems to have come back well. I read that a while back somewhere, and can't recall his name.
 
There is an NFL player who had this operation when he was young, and seems to have come back well. I read that a while back somewhere, and can't recall his name.
From everything I've read, his condition isn't that uncommon. However, the big issue for RWM is where his cavernous malformation was located - on his brain stem. The further away from the stem, the better chance for recovery. Apparently it's difficult to compare recoveries because because of that variable.
 

Shore Thing

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There is an NFL player who had this operation when he was young, and seems to have come back well. I read that a while back somewhere, and can't recall his name.
There was a guy who had some surgery once. I don't know who it was or when the surgery happened or how long it took to recover. But it happened. :rolling:

It would be nice to get some details.
 

Darnell's Son

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There was a guy who had some surgery once. I don't know who it was or when the surgery happened or how long it took to recover. But it happened. :rolling:

It would be nice to get some details.
I really don't see the point to this post whatsoever. Lose already asked him to do a little research, so there's no need to pile on. I tried doing a little research on it on the internet, but all I could find were articles about either RWM or the condition itself. If you add NFL to the search mix, then you get plenty of stuff on NFL head injuries but nothing on the condition in question.
 

ScubaSteveAvery

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I'm always hesitant to do direct comparisons since most sports are so different in what they expect mentally and physically of athletes. Further complicating comparisons are specific genetic makeup and treatments and such. With that sad, Spanish cyclist Alberto Cantador had a cavernous malformation that caused him to collapse in a race in 2004. In 2007 he won the Tour de France, and continues to be a dominant cyclist.
 

graffam198

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I'm always hesitant to do direct comparisons since most sports are so different in what they expect mentally and physically of athletes. Further complicating comparisons are specific genetic makeup and treatments and such. With that sad, Spanish cyclist Alberto Cantador had a cavernous malformation that caused him to collapse in a race in 2004. In 2007 he won the Tour de France, and continues to be a dominant cyclist.

Yeah, but how do we get RWM to start blood doping :c070:

I think that this is an optomistic comparison and definately something to look to in hopes of RWM returning to Baseball. We have all heard about his work ethic and positive outlook on life which lead to positive thoughts and feelings for this kid.

Like others have said though, it really depends on the location and how much damage may have been done during the surgery and or general disease process. There appears to be an article in the British Sports Journal about a rugby player returning to the sport. I am not sure if it is helpful as I don't have access to the article nor am I medically trained so I don't understand some of the language. Perhaps some of our doctors can weigh in?
 

Punchado

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Yeah, but how do we get RWM to start blood doping :c070:

I think that this is an optomistic comparison and definately something to look to in hopes of RWM returning to Baseball. We have all heard about his work ethic and positive outlook on life which lead to positive thoughts and feelings for this kid.

Like others have said though, it really depends on the location and how much damage may have been done during the surgery and or general disease process. There appears to be an article in the British Sports Journal about a rugby player returning to the sport. I am not sure if it is helpful as I don't have access to the article nor am I medically trained so I don't understand some of the language. Perhaps some of our doctors can weigh in?
As someone who had one of these (in my spinal cord in my neck) I can tell you that there really is no way to compare recoveries. It's kind of like comparing sunny days. Some may be sort of like others, but they're all totally specific.
 

ScubaSteveAvery

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Yeah, but how do we get RWM to start blood doping :c070:

I think that this is an optomistic comparison and definately something to look to in hopes of RWM returning to Baseball. We have all heard about his work ethic and positive outlook on life which lead to positive thoughts and feelings for this kid.
Sure. I was just trying to help SoxSport out because, as I am assuming, he was trying to say that there is precedent of professional athletes returning from this type of injury.
 

graffam198

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Sure. I was just trying to help SoxSport out because, as I am assuming, he was trying to say that there is precedent of professional athletes returning from this type of injury.

And I was trying to return the favor by looking up case studies. Sorry if it came off a little passe, but I couldn't pass up a chance at a cyclist joke. I was hoping that the case study provided would be able to shed some light on that situation. I think we all agree that there is really no way to know how he will respond and whether or not he can continue to play at a hight level. Regardless of this, I think a lot can be drawn from his handling of this situation and how someone can handle a situation that could literally cheat them out of their dreams. Much respect for the kid and I hope he continues to carry himself in a way that I can forever point to w/my kids as a way to handle adversity and crushing dissapointment.
 

smastroyin

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It's nice that such an inspiring story can still get the denizens of SoSH to be gigantic douchebags.

Seriously, cut the shit. SoxSport's post is fine in terms of creating a discussion. It was nice to hear about Contador and from Punch. We have like 1325 mods now, we don't need thread policing and pile ons.
 

Brianish

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Was just coming in to post that. This is the part that really caught my attention:

“He was still walking with a walker. His therapist probably weighed about 110 pounds. She was holding a harness behind him,” recalled Nero. “She said, ‘Today, we’re going to see if you can run.’ We’re all standing there. She took away the walker, he’s walking. He’s walking like this.”

To illustrate the point, Nero shuffled his feet somewhat awkwardly from side to side.

“He took off [running] like a bat out of hell. She looked like she was trying to walk a Doberman,” Nero recalled with a laugh. “And we’re all [gasping]. We all thought he was going to fall. He slowed down and just started walking again.”
For real, what is this kid?
 

Bernard Gilkey baby

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He's a success story regardless of what happens. We all know that. But I'll say it, I think he's going to be an impact player for the Sox. He believes it. And I wouldn't bet against him.

There are so many reasons to love the Sox going forward, and I think he's one of them. He'll stay under the radar for now. But I believe. Just a gut feeling.
 

Hee-Seop's Fable

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For real, what is this kid?
Reading all the features on him over the last few months it's pretty clear his love of the game is really fundamental to who he is. And his skills for the game seem like the some of his most deeply ingrained. I have to think how radical his training and physical therapy have had to be and the patience he's learned will serve him really well every time he has to make a new adjustment - baseball or other-wise. He's had to learn that routine so much more deeply than any ordinary prospect. And his stoicism reminds me an awful lot of Jon Lester. I really all the finer motor skills return and hope we all get to see the two play in support of each other someday.
 

Corsi

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Ryan Westmoreland (pictured at Gillette Stadium on Nov. 21) is still working out in Florida, Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen said at a rookie-program workout at Boston College on Wednesday. Westmoreland is still working out and taking batting practice, a gradual rehab program that won't change much when spring training begins. No timetable has been set for when Westmoreland might think about playing in games. But the Red Sox still have high hopes they'll see the Portsmouth native, now close to a year removed from surgery to remove a cavernous malformation on his brain stem, in a uniform and on a field at some point.

"He's hitting, he's throwing, he's going through all the workouts -- the lifting," Hazen said. "I still think, the original diagnosis -- it was going to take some time to get back where he was. We're not going to make any hard-line predictions or set a time frame for when he's actually going to come out and play in a game. We're taking it day by day. We're seeing steady progress. He's seeing steady progress. It's still going to take a little while to get him back to where he was. But we're still confident and optimistic.

"If you're betting on any one person to get back and make it to that place, it's him. You'd be amazed at the amount of drive in this kid, given what he's had and the setbacks and all the things he's had to go through. It's inspiring, is what it is. You just hope that he's going to be able to take the field again one day because you know how bad he wants it."

Because what Westmoreland is trying to do has little to no precedent, there's no way to measure his progress. But all parties agree that the progress since last March continues to be amazing.

"We'll push him when we can push him, and we'll have to pull him back when we need to pull him back," Hazen said. "There's no time frame on when he might see game action or anything like that. But I know he's chomping at it, wanting to get out there and do some stuff. I feel like we've pushed him, repeatedly, to where he's wanted to be pushed."
http://soxblog.projo.com/2011/01/hazen-on-ryan-w.html
 

radsoxfan

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You just hope that he's going to be able to take the field again one day because you know how bad he wants it."
For some reason, this line stuck out to me. I don't find this sentiment unexpected (and perhaps I'm reading too much into it), but I think it just highlights how far Westmoreland is from being considered a top prospect. A year after his surgery, there is still legitimate uncertainly about him ever being able to play in a game.

It's certianly not impossible for him to continue to improve a year out from his surgery, but I think quotes like this make me realize how far he still has to go. Hope he makes it.
 

SoxScout

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Others on the field included Rich HIll, Luis Exposito, Daniel Nava, Andrew Miller, Jason Bergmann, Rob Coello and Ryan Kalish. Junichi Tazawa was there as was Ryan Westmoreland.

Less than a year after brain surgery, that Westmoreland is on the field with his teammates is a true testament to his dedication and the skill of his doctors. Nobody knows how far his comeback will get, but his being here is an accomplishment.
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2011/02/big_crowd_on_ha.html
 

joe dokes

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http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/red-sox/post/_/id/8132/westmoreland-showing-progress

[snip]
His recovery is nothing short of miraculous, and the 20-year-old outfielder is back at spring training and has been taking on-field batting practice the last few days. He says he feels good.

“Doctors didn’t think I would be able to take BP this early,” he said Monday afternoon.

The Portsmouth, R.I., native is scheduled to travel to Boston for an examination on Tuesday with the team’s neurologist at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. He’ll be back in camp later this week.
[snip]
 

allaboutthesox

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This is confirmed by Westmoreland's twitter feed. He's on tonight, April 12 on E60.
Phenomenal story and kudos to ESPN. Ryan has come a long way and it would be hard not to be encouraged by his progress. Regardless of the outcome, he will have accomplished more adversity in his 20 years than most will in a lifetime. Just a fantastic story and I am sure we have not seen the last of Ryan.
 

radsoxfan

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That MRI was pretty interesting. Amazing that someone can be so lucky (natural baseball ability) and also so incredibly unlucky at the same time. A golf ball sized cavernous malformation actively bleeding in just about the worst possible spot in the entire body. Thats a 1 in a million type thing.

Definitely an inspiring story, and his progress has been amazing. At the same time, its very clear he has a VERY long way to go if he wants to play basbeall for a living. Dr. Spetzler had a realistic assessment of his chances, and it wasnt very optimistic as far as making it to the majors. But you have to admire him for not giving up.
 

RobertTillman

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latest tweet...sounds pretty encouraging..

RWesty25 Ryan Westmoreland I'm doing great. Working very hard everyday and starting to do things I haven't done in over a year. Progress is continuing!!3 Jun
 

dymjp

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Being a neuroradiologist, I'll throw my two cents in on that MRI and the lesion. It's a cavernous malformation, which they said during the show may bleed. They always bleed. That's what they do. Blood of different ages is why these lesions always look so funky on MRI. As has been mentioned on this site several times, the location in the pons is just terrible. The pons is where pretty much most of the axons of the nervous system to the body pass through. But the key issue here is the massive size of the malformation. It really is huge unfortunately and I have yet to come across one this big in 5 years of reading neuro MRI's. After taking something like this out, there will always be postoperative changes there in the pons. There most likely is residual dead brain tissue at the surgical site (encephalomalacia). So his pons right now is not normal and I'm sure follow up MRI's are showing this. As we all root for him as he progresses, lets remember that he's doing this with a permanently damaged pons.
 

SoxScout

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After months of seeing steady progress with his swing, starting with tee work and advancing to soft toss, hitting off a machine and, at long last, batting practice in groups, Westmoreland is on the verge of facing live pitching. As soon as the Red Sox staff gives him the go-ahead, based on his health and the way he’s handling batting practice, he’ll hit real pitches from a real pitcher for the first time since his surgery.

“They know I’m ready, and I know I’m ready,” he said. “I’m physically and mentally ready — whether I hit the ball or not — to get in the batter’s box again. To see a pitcher throw a ball at me from 60 feet away is going to be pretty special.”
Westmoreland has seen his swing progress faster than any other aspect of his game. He does throwing work and conditioning work one-on-one with a strength coach, separately from the other young players at the Red Sox’ facility in Fort Myers. He still does occupational-therapy work every morning while the rest of the players are out stretching.

But his fast-twitch instincts have not betrayed him. Sixteen months after his surgery, he’s able to get his bat on machine-generated major-league fastballs and breaking balls — and he’s taking batting practice alongside his peers.

“My eyes, just like any other muscle, had to take time to relearn how to work together to get the depth perception back,” he said. “(Doctors) didn’t say that hitting would come slower or faster, but they’ve said, ‘Your instincts have really taken over in this part of the game.’ The result of that is the better hitting off faster pitching. I’m really happy that I’ve been able to do something so well even though it has been a little over a year. With that perspective of what I went through, it’s still been a really short time, but I feel great at the plate and I’m ready to take the next step.”
“I’m doing fly balls without having to worry about looking bad,” he said. “We’re getting some new guys down here, and they don’t know my background, but they don’t treat me any different. You worry about whether people will treat you differently because of what you went through, but I’m blending in.”
http://www.projo.com/redsox/content/sp_bb_westmoreland_31.767cf85e.html
 

JakeRae

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Where is Sprowl "The Reaper" when we need him?

Back on topic, this is great news. I'd love to know if he is doing any work on base running at this point. If he can run the bases and can start to hit live pitching again, he might be able to see some playing time at DH next year while he continues to try to recover his ability to play the field.

And, yes, I know I am getting way ahead of myself there. But, I can only imagine it would help his recovery to be able to get some at bats in real games at some point, if only for the psychological boost that would provide.
 

Buzzkill Pauley

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This guy is very important. We need pitching badly. Lackey needs to go and replace him with Westmoreland anyone?
I think you may be confusing Ryan Westmoreland with Brian Westbrook.

Yeah, that's it.

Seriously, though -- what a damn amazing story. Good luck, kid!