It’s usually not a good sign when an athlete has to be carted off a field or court from a sporting event.
In this circumstance, Webster University baseball senior center fielder Cody Stevenson was put in the situation last season, as a junior, when he ran into a centerfield wall at his full speed.
Playing in Webster’s first appearance in the College World Series, Stevenson and the rest of the 2012 Webster baseball team faced an elimination game against Marietta College (Ohio) on May 28 in Appleton, Wis. When the eighth inning rolled around, the Gorloks were down 10-7 as Marietta’s Mitch Geers smashed the ball to deep center field where Stevenson tried to make the catch at the wall.
Stevenson slammed head first into the wall at full speed, leaving him motionless on the ground. Stevenson was knocked unconscience as teammates, coaches and paramedics surrounded him. He was carted off by the paramedics and taken to a local hospital in Appleton.
“They said I laid there motionless for about 30 seconds,” Stevenson said. “To my knowledge, I thought as soon as I hit the wall I was moving my hands and stuff, but they said I didn’t move for about 30 seconds. Then finally I started moving my hands and trying to get up or something like that, but, yeah, I completely blacked out.”
Stevenson was at the hospital for almost two hours. He said it took “forever” to get him off the stability board because they wanted to make sure there was nothing wrong with his neck or spine.
Stevenson said his concussion was embarrassing.
After he returned home from Wisconsin, Stevenson was out of action for three to four weeks. He was scheduled to travel to New York to play in the New York Collegiate Baseball League when Webster’s season ended. It ended shorter than he and his teammates expected.
During his time away from the game he loves, Stevenson couldn’t do much because of his concussion. To keep himself busy, he did light workouts to stay in shape for summer ball.
“I couldn’t really do anything that caused too much strain, like watching TV or looking at screens,” Stevenson said. “So I did light workouts and took the baseline test that our athletic trainers have all athletes take that have a concussion.”
Stevenson had to be cleared before he traveled to New York for the summer.
“When I finally did get up there, I was more anxious to get back on the horse,” Stevenson said.
At the same time, Stevenson said the fear of running into a wall again made him nervous.
“It was more about being anxious and antsy to get back out there,” Stevenson said. “In baseball, you are going to have things happen; it’s just … how you let it affect you.”
Since Stevenson’s injury in May, he’s been getting headaches occasionally. He said he’s not sure whether the headaches are related to his concussion.