Baseball

Former Cal Poly standout Matt Imhof has right eye removed following training accident

Former Cal Poly baseball standout Matt Imhof, a second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, had his right eye removed Tuesday following a freak training accident.
Former Cal Poly baseball standout Matt Imhof, a second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2014, had his right eye removed Tuesday following a freak training accident. AP

Former Cal Poly standout and current Philadelphia Phillies minor league prospect Matt Imhof may have thrown the final pitch of his professional baseball career.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Imhof suffered a potentially career-threatening eye injury last week while performing a routine stretching routine following a game with the Class A Clearwater Threshers.

On Thursday morning, Imhof posted a detailed message on his personal Instagram page, informing friends and family of the unexpected accident. A rubber resistance band that was anchored to the wall with a mounted brace broke off and hit him in the head, Imhof said, “resulting in a fractured nose, two fractured orbital bones and, most significantly, the loss of vision in my right eye.”

 

As many of you know on Friday June 25th I had an accident. A large price of metal hit me in the head/eye resulting in a fractured nose, 2 fractured orbital bones, and most significantly, the loss of vision in my right eye. I was immediately taken to the ER and then transferred to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, the #1 eye hospital in the world. That night, the doctors informed me that the damage to my eye was extreme and essentially that my eye had been crushed like a grape. The doctors told me they were going to do everything possible to reconstruct it but in all likelihood I would never regain sight in my right eye. The first surgery was somewhat a success but overall nothing had changed, so after discussions with my family and my doctors, it was decided that the best chance I had to live a normal life was to have my right eye removed and have a prosthetic one put in. This decision was not an easy one to make but to me it seemed like the right one so on Tuesday afternoon I went forward with the surgery. I'm currently still in Miami recovering from surgery but I'm doing well. This has been the hardest week of my life but I've had amazing support from my family and friends to help me get through it. For those who have been wishing me well, your support has not gone unnoticed and I appreciate everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers. I had the best doctors in the world doing their best work on me and for that I am grateful as well. Although this injury has been tough it could have been much worse...I'm lucky to still have vision in my left eye...I'm lucky that i didn't have brain damage...and I'm lucky to be surrounded my the most loving and understanding people in the world. I just wanted to write this message to let everyone know that even though I suffered some bad luck, I'm not dead. I'm gonna be alright, I'm gonna persevere, and I'm gonna succeed. It takes more than this to bring me down. Again thanks to everyone for the support .

A photo posted by Matt Imhof (@matt_imhof48) on

The Threshers were playing a road game against the Brevard County Manatees, an affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers, when the incident occurred. The former second-round pick by Philadelphia in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft was taken to the emergency room and later transferred to the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Florida.

Doctors told Imhof the damage to his eye was extreme and “essentially that my eye had been crushed like a grape.” After undergoing an initial surgery that yielded little change, Imhof spoke to his family and doctors and decided to have his right eye removed and a prosthetic inserted in its place.

Imhof said in the Instagram post he is currently in Miami recovering from Tuesday’s procedure and is doing well.

“This has been the hardest week of my life,” Imhof said. “But I’ve had amazing support from my family and friends to help me get through it.”

Before the injury occurred last Friday, Imhof held a 3.91 ERA in 14 games with Clearwater this season. He recently was moved from a starting role to the bullpen, and had 48 strikeouts against 43 walks to his credit in his third year of professional baseball.

When Imhof was drafted by the Phillies in 2014, one of six Mustangs selected that year, he received a signing bonus of nearly $1.2 million. He seemed optimistic in the Instagram post, which included a photo of Imhof in a hospital bed with a large bandage over his right eye.

“I just wanted to write this message to let everyone know that even though I suffered some bad luck, I’m not dead,” Imhof said. “I’m gonna be alright, I’m gonna persevere, and I’m gonna succeed. It takes more than this to bring me down.”

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