Marksberry recovering from health scare

Marksberry recovering from health scare

ATLANTA -- Matt Marksberry remembers slowly shuffling out of his Disney World-area hotel and essentially falling into the backseat of the taxi he summoned to transport him to a nearby hospital. His directions were simple: "I'm fading bro, get me there as fast as possible."

Marksberry's next coherent memory developed three days later, when he awoke strapped down to a hospital bed and said, "What the [heck], Dad," while trying to figure out why his parents and some friends were surrounding him as he laid there with tubes and wires stemming from his body.

"It was one of the scariest moments I've ever had," Marksberry said. "I really don't remember anything after getting into that cab."

Two weeks have passed since a severely dehydrated Marksberry was placed in a medically induced coma upon arriving at Dr. P. Phillips Hospital and having a seizure. Even after immediate fears of potential death faded, there were concerns about whether the left-handed Braves reliever would regain all of his mental faculties once he woke up.

Fortunately, everything once again appears to be right in the world for Marksberry, who has regained some sense of normalcy while spending the past week living at his family's home in Cincinnati. The 26-year-old pitcher has started lifting weights, and he has steadily enhanced his conditioning exercises on a daily basis. Marksberry now has a simple and seemingly realistic goal to enter Spring Training without any restrictions.

"It was a harrowing story with a happy ending," Matt's father, Bob, said.

Marksberry had been at the Braves' Spring Training complex in the Orlando, Fla., area since early August, when he was placed on the disabled list with an inflamed left rotator cuff. He began battling constipation and some stomach pains nearly three weeks ago. This led to the scheduling of a colonoscopy, which was to be performed on Oct. 19.

After eating a lunch on Oct. 18, Marksberry returned to his hotel and consumed the solution prescribed to clear one's system before the procedure. A little more than three hours later, the Braves' pitcher began to realize the solution had drained him to the point of feeling weak and light-headed.

Instead of simply attempting to make it through the night, Marksberry made the wise decision to call for the cab to take him to the emergency room at Dr. P. Phillips, which was located approximately 10 minutes from the hotel. Though he has no recollection, Marksberry entered the hospital under his own power and did not have the seizure until he was being taken to undergo a CT scan.

Marksberry's sodium level had diminished to the point where his kidneys, liver and other organs began shutting down. Soon after, the decision was made to place Marksberry in the medically induced coma in an effort to keep his airwaves open while sodium was restored.

All of this transpired without friends or family members knowing what was happening. There was some concern when Marksberry did not show up at 5:30 a.m. for his scheduled transportation to his colonoscopy. Braves officials began calling the hotel and area jails.

Marksberry's parents did not realize what happened until around noon on Oct. 19, when his mother, Sandra, was met at her home by a police officer, who informed her she needed to call the hospital for an update on her son. Less than four hours later, Sandra and Bob boarded a direct flight from Cincinnati to Orlando without knowing exactly what they would find once they landed.

"You don't know what scared is until you go through something like this," Bob said. "You're thinking, 'Am I going down there to pull the plug?'"

Though it was certainly unsettling to walk into a hospital room to see their motionless son with tubes coming out of both his nose and mouth, Bob and Sandra were somewhat relieved to find that by the time they reached the hospital at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET, Matt's sodium levels had improved and his vital signs were good.

Around the same time, fans were expressing their concerns about Marksberry via social media posts, some of which suggested he was on life support. The Braves were not legally permitted to say anything more than the pitcher was being treated for severe dehydration, which was true, despite the fact that this simple description didn't necessarily match the potential severity of the situation.

"I've now had a chance to see saw all of that [social media] stuff," Marksberry said. "I didn't realize it was that bad. When I started to read it, I got pretty emotional. It showed me people care about the person more than the player."

Marksberry slowly started to come out of his coma on Oct. 20, and by late that evening, he was starting to slowly, but coherently, answer simple questions asked by the hotel staff. It was not until the next morning that Bob and Sandra first heard their son speak, proving he would quickly regain all of his cognitive and motor capabilities.

Doctors monitored Marksberry's improved condition for a few days before releasing him from the hospital on Oct. 25.

"The difference in him now and where he was a week to 10 days ago is incredible," Bob said. "He's undergone all kind of tests, and they say he's as healthy as a horse. He's running, lifting and doing everything like normal. Everybody will be talking about baseball, and that's what he loves, but I've told him, 'I'm just happy you're awake. I'm not too worried about baseball right now.'"

Marksberry will spend the next couple of months continuing to rehab his shoulder in Cincinnati. He has battled back from Tommy John surgery, the bus wreck that involved the Class A Advanced Carolina team in 2015 and now this near-tragic dehydration bout. He obviously hopes to reach the big league level again, but these past couple of weeks have reminded him there is never reason to assume anything.

"I feel very blessed," Marksberry said. "Someone was watching over me. I will never again take anything for granted. Someone gave me another chance in this world."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.