The long walk back to the diamond

Jessica Deutsch

Imagine your favorite activity: long runs, reading thrilling mystery novels, playing Ultimate Frisbee.

Now imagine a scenario in which you are unable to do that for one whole year.

For Tyler Hudson ‘16, that activity was baseball and due to two intensive back-to-back injuries, Hudson has been forced to watch from the dugout instead of star on the diamond.

From March 22 of 2013 to this past weekend, Hudson has participated in just 12 practices.

“It’s really tough to not be discouraged. I’ve been discouraged a lot,” Hudson said. “This is kind of corny but I love baseball. I do it because I have so much fun and this weekend was the most fun I’ve had in ten months.”

The Orono, Minn. native suffered a reoccurring knee injury in the spring of his freshman season that was later diagnosed as missing cartilage under his meniscus that required surgery.

Fortunately, that surgery was successful and he returned this past fall. But in his first practice back, misfortune struck again: Hudson dove and in the process suffered a hip injury. He hoped that resting it throughout the fall and winter would render positive results for this season.

Just over a week ago, Hudson received news that his hip injury had actually not healed, but was rather a torn labrum with loose cartilage and muscular tears along his pubic bone. He now receives cortisone shots to numb the pain in order to play and will have to do so throughout the spring season. Following the end of the season, he will undergo two separate surgeries with a combined recovery period of four to six months, meaning he will miss fall ball yet again.

Despite that setback, the injury isn’t currently serious enough to end Hudson’s 2014 spring season. He returned to the diamond this weekend in a series against George Washington University, one in which the Leopards won 2-1. Hudson led Lafayette to victory in the final game of the series with two hits and two RBIs.

He claims baseball is similar to riding a bike in the sense that you don’t forget how to play. He practiced just three times before the series, yet made every play at third base and started two crucial double plays that ended scoring threats from GWU.

“Tyler demonstrated confidence and aggressive swings at the plate which really paid off on Sunday,” head coach Joe Kinney said.

“I was terrified in the beginning. My hands and legs were shaking my first at bat but as the weekend progressed and I played more innings everything went back to normal,” Hudson said.

The cortisone shots will continue, as will the pain. But his love for baseball appears to be more than enough to carry him through.