Last Friday, Phillies minor-league pitcher Matt Imhof suffered a serious eye injury in an absolutely freakish accident. He was stretching using a rubber resistance band anchored to a wall when the metal base broke, and a piece struck him in the eye. Doctors tried to save it, but Imhof revealed today that he has had his right eye replaced with a prosthesis.
Imhof, a 2014 second-round pick and lefty starter for at single-A Clearwater, made the reveal in an inspiringly upbeat Instagram post this afternoon:
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.
The loss of the eye and the lack of depth perception is not necessarily a death knell for Imhof’s baseball career. Juan Sandoval, who was blinded in one eye by a shotgun blast, made it as high as AAA and now pitches in the Mexican League. Abe Alvarez is legally blind in one eye thanks to a childhood infection, and pitched parts of three seasons for the Red Sox.