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By GOOSE LINDSAY
Harriman junior Tyler Dishman has a strong belief that all things are possible through God.
Now he has proof.
On May 11, Dishman was on the mound pitching for the Blue Devils in the opening round of the Region 2-A Tournament when Wartburg's Shawn Langley smashed a hard line drive up the middle that hit Dishman just above his right eye. Dishman went down immediately and some at Harriman's Papermaker Field even thought Dishman was dead.
Dishman wasn't dead, but the hard-throwing right-hander was seriously injured. Within seconds Dishman's right eye was completely swollen shut and by the time he was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center it was discovered that he had three facial fractures, two above and one below his eye, and he also had a hematoma (broken blood vessel) in his brain.
“I remember throwing him a fastball and I missed my spot,” Dishman said. “I seen it coming at me, but I didn't have time to adjust. It just got on me so quick.
“I knew I was hurt but I didn't know how bad until the people around me were talking. The way my mom (Rena) was yelling I knew something was wrong. I remember thinking in the ambulance that I might never play again and that hit me real quick.”
In the days to come Dishman's vision in his right eye was 20-400, which isn't even good enough to make out the largest letter on a vision chart. To make matters worse, Dishman's doctors told him there was nothing they could do about his vision, only time would tell.
“That next day was tough,” Dishman's father Mike said. “We were told all they could do was control the bleeding and one doctor told us not to expect much improvement. But later that day Dr. (Bradley) Pearman told us he thought there would be improvement, but it was impossible to tell how much. He told Tyler at that point it was between him and God. It was at that point that we started to feel better.”
In the days following the injury it was believed that Dishman's playing days might be over, but now three weeks have passed and he has made a remarkable recovery. He still has a blind spot in his right eye and he must have surgery later this summer to repair one of his orbital fractures around his eye, but his latest eye test shows 20-25 vision in his right eye and he also been cleared to participate in limited drills at basketball practice.
“There was a time when I thought why is this happening to me?” Dishman said. “But I know that everything happens for a reason and with God anything is possible. I feel God is using me to show this. He has helped me get through this pretty quick and I'm thankful. I feel this is a miracle.
“I was as happy as I've ever been in my life when they told me my vision had improved to 20-25 and I could return to practice. I can't do a lot of running or jumping and I have to avoid contact but it's a start.”
Dishman's blind spot is still the biggest cause of concern. It is in the bottom half of his eye and shouldn't hamper Dishman's performance on the basketball court, but the baseball diamond is a different story.
“I'll go hit and take some grounders when it's okay to do that,” Dishman said. “Right now I see pretty well with my peripheral vision, but I've got to make sure I see the ball because there are a lot of shots hit to third. I would try the outfield, catching or somewhere that the ball isn't hit as hard at you if I need to.”
“Tyler said the day after it happened that he was going to pitch again,” Mike Dishman added. “We're going to see how everything goes and we want to make sure he will be safe. Right now we'll just hit the gym and weight room.”
Mike Dishman also wanted to thank everyone for their support over the past three weeks.
“We appreciate everything,” he said. “The support has been overwhelming. We can't begin to say how much all the prayers, phone calls, flowers and cards have meant to us.”
“I want to thank everyone for their prayers,” Tyler Dishman added. “I hope people see that through God anything is possible and not to give up on anything.”