Some traumatic brain injury (TBI) stories do have a happy ending. Such seems to be the case with pitcher Darin Downs.
Call Downs the comeback kid. Last week he was called up from the minors in Toledo by the Detroit Tigers. After what happened to him in August 2009, it’s a wonder that Downs is alive, let alone playing pro baseball, according to the Detroit Free Press.
While playing for the Tampa Bay Ray’s Double-A team in Alabama, Downs was hit with a line drive in the head, right over his ear. Remarkably, Downs never lost consciousness, according to the Free Press.
But he was hospitalized with a skull fracture, and had brain swelling. He exhibited many of the symptoms of those who sustain brain injury, and initially could not speak. He had to slowly learn how again.
Downs, 27, talked about his post-concussion problems with the press recently, after being called up from the Mud Hens to play for the Tigers.
“It was a very tough recovery to say the least,” Downs told reporters. “Post-concussion syndrome was not my friend. I was kind of depressed. I was tired all the time. I slept all the time.”
He went through rehab, and got the nerve to go and play ball again. His record at Toledo was 0-2, with 33 strikes and eight walks in 29 innings, according to the Free Press. His ERA was 2.15.
And then Detroit called.