Ryan Duffy lies in a Miami hospital, paralyzed from the neck down, aware of his condition but not fully sure how it came to be.
The former Mississippi State baseball player is trying to recover from a swimming accident early Saturday morning that nearly killed him. His parents, Kevin and Cathy Duffy, have been updating his progress at www.caringbridge.org/visit/ ryanduffy1.
Duffy’s mother is remaining in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale “indefinitely” to stay close to her son. He’s had two surgeries on his spine, which was bruised and had injured vertebrae.
Duffy has been able to communicate via blinking. His long-term memory appears fine, but his mother said he does not recall the accident.
“He doesn’t know how he got in this situation and what kind of accident he had,” Cathy Duffy wrote Tuesday. “His brother Nick went over it all again today with him.”
Right now, doctors are guarding against pneumonia and swelling on the spine. MSU coach John Cohen told the Daily Journal that an MRI scheduled for Wednesday was put on hold because of salt water lingering in Duffy’s system.
Cohen said Duffy’s “brain function is good.”
Kevin Duffy told the News-Press of Fort Meyers, Fla., that his son is far from being in the clear.
“The doctor told us … if it gets worse, we could lose him.”
Duffy and some friends were hanging out in Key West when they decided to go for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. At about 4:15 a.m. Saturday, Duffy apparently dove headfirst into shallow water.
He stopped breathing, but an off-duty firefighter was close by and administered CPR. He was taken to the local emergency room and then airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami.
An outfielder and catcher, Duffy finished his MSU career by hitting .358 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs last season. He set a school single-game record when he collected 15 total bases and tied another mark with nine RBIs in one game.
He was not taken in the Major League Draft.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal