Prospect Blog: Brian Gump

For Brian Gump, August was going to be a big month. After some mechanical tweaking, Gump was finally finding his swing in the waning days of July and was looking forward to the rest of the season, until the Baseball Gods had a different idea.

I have to admit, I haven't done a very good job of keeping you updated throughout the season. Its been an  interesting season for me personally to say the least. It definitely has not played out how I had envisioned it, but in life not many things go according to plans and rightfully so because it makes things interesting, it forces growth, it fosters maturity and perspective.

My season took a serious blow on a night when the whole country was celebrating. The 4th of July. I was so excited and proud to be playing America's game in front of 10,000 fans on the birthday of our great country, but that excitment quickly blurred into intense pain more mental than physical. During my second at bat of the game on a 1-2 pitch, a fastball around 90mph struck me on my forearm, when I barely check swung, in the perfect spot where there is just skin and bone and not a whole lot of muscle to absorb the impact. I dropped the bat and started to walk to first trying hard to play off the pain that was shooting through my arm. In my peripheral, I could hear the opposing manager shouting at the umpire that the ball had struck the bat due to the sound it made upon impact and that it didn't really hit me and to get me back to the plate. After a quick inspection of my forearm while walking down the line, I realized that noise the coach had thought was the ball hitting the bat was my bone cracking, I came to this conclusion for two reasons, I had never felt a pain quite like this before and there was a slight depression in my forearm where the bone was. After coming out of the game I sat in the lockerroom while I iced and compressed the injury and realized that I was more mentally in pain because I knew this injury would cost me playing time, I can deal with physical pain at a fairly high threshold, but the pain of missing time (Something that is actually very new to me because I have always been an extremely durable player, knock on wood). Everything began to set in and as I sat in the ER alone on the 4th of July in Greensboro, North Carolina, waiting to be taken in and treated, the devastation hit me and I broke down for a minute or two as I realized most if not all of the rest of my season had been taken from me just as it seemed I had finally found my swing and had begun to really tap into my potential on both sides of the ball, hitting had never felt that simple before and I really started to tap into the strength that Legg says I dont realize quite how strong I am. (Legg had just tweeked my swing a few weeks ago and ever since the day we made some mechanical adjustments I had been going off at the plate. Despite the injury, I have all of these new fixes firmly ingrained in my head and I make sure and practice them every day while im at home resting).

After my short self pity moment, I quickly decided that now was as good a time as ever to start my recovery process so I quickly picked my head back up and began thinking about my road  to recovery and all of the things I could do to expediate the process, here is what I came up with: Eat extremely healthy (after some research on bone healing, I found time after time that healthy eating habits are the number one influence on recovery time), sleep as much as possible, work out legs and core to stay fit and continue to improve while my upper half was essentially shut down (which it turns out is only half true about my upper half), and keep a positive attitude. I also thought about watching as much stand up as possible because I hear laughter is the best medicine...

After my first check up which was last monday, t-minus 2 weeks after the injury and LESS than 2 weeks after surgery, all signs pointed to my recovery efforts working quite effectively. They took  my cast off after only having it on for about a week and half and gave me exercises to get my range of motion back and a week later, I can honestly say my range of motion is probably back to about 90% already. The docotrs were extremely pleased with how everything was lookinig and said its about as good as it can possibly be this quickly after an injury. I am shocked at how good my arm feels for only being 3 weeks past breaking it. Medical technology and technique is amazing these days, it helps that the Phillies have done an exceptional job of providing me with the best doctors and treatment available, much appreciation and thanks for that.

I was told I would not make it back to play this season, but in my head I have maintained that I will, maybe even if that is just to keep me motivated and locked in. With my arm already feeling this good, it is becoming hard for me to imagine spending too much more time at home before I head to Florida to officially start my rehab which looks like it will be in about 2 more weeks.

I have take a lot away from this experience already. First, I have never missed an extended amount of games in my career professionally, collegiately or in youth baseball so this is quite a new experience for me. Second, it further reinforced the truth that in life a lot of times you can't control the things that happen to you and around you, but you can control the attitude and approach that you take towards these situations and this often times makes all the difference and even lends you pretty significant control after all. This is especially important in the worldof baseball. Third, I have always maintained that injuries are almost a blessing sometimes because they take you away from the game you love and give you a fresh perspective of how lucky you are to be out there every day playing, this a point that I have hammered home when talking to my teammates in Clearwater and Lakewood when I talk to them since Ive been injured. It has left me EVEN MORE hungry, you always appreciate things more when they are taken away from you and now its my job to do everything I can to take it back and run with it. Fourth, I have had the opportunity to travel back home for a few weeks while I rest and heal and it has been bitter sweet. It is nice seeing my family and friends and being surrounded by so much love and support, but many times the bitter part of the equation hits me because I know I shouldn't be here, I should be playing and so my mind almost remains in and on Lakewood eagerly dreaming up my return and another playoff run for a championship if I can be so lucky to make it back in time.

With my new bionic arm, I'm starting to feel a lot like the terminator...I'll be back...before you know it.


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