Ryan Westmoreland shares inspiring story with 7News
UNDATED (WHDH) -- From living a dream on the field, to barely being able to walk -- Ryan Westmoreland spoke to 7News about his inspiring battle back in his first interview since his retirement from baseball.
Click HERE to watch Sarah French's FULL interview with Ryan Westmoreland.
Ryan Westmoreland epitomized everything one looks for in a baseball player: he could hit, he could throw, and he loved the game.
“Playing major league baseball is my lifelong dream,” he said.
But at the age of 22, Ryan Westmoreland is retired from baseball.
“Being a top prospect, feeling great, and you know, really excited about my future. And to all of a sudden not be able to even walk -- it was difficult to look in the mirror and say, ‘Why did this happen to me?’” he said.
Westmoreland was drafted by the Red Sox in 2008 and received a $2 million signing bonus. He played in the minors, dreaming of one day playing at Fenway Park.
But during spring training two years later, something wasn’t right.
“There was one day that I said to our training staff, ‘You know, I kind of feel tingling in my hand.’ A couple days later I went out to stretch and pretty much my whole right side of my body was numb,” Westmoreland said.
Doctors found a tangle of blood vessels in his brain. If it started bleeding, his life would be on the line.
“[The moment I found out I was going to have to have surgery] I woke up completely deaf in one ear, blind, couldn’t see, couldn’t think, couldn’t do anything,” Westmoreland said.
Both he and his family knew the surgery would be risky.
“He could be paralyzed, he could go into a coma, or we could lose him,” said Westmoreland’s father, Ron.
Following surgery, one side of Westmoreland’s face was frozen; he could barely move. But one thing that hadn’t changed was his heart and determination.
The very next day, Westmoreland got out of his hospital bed, and walked.
“It was just amazing to see that,” Westmoreland's father said.
After two years of rehabbing, Westmoreland was finally playing again.
“Once I did that, I kind of said, ‘Okay, this isn’t impossible. I can see now that it paid off and it can only get better,’” Westmoreland said.
But, it didn’t; it got worse.
In July of 2012, Westmoreland underwent a second surgery.
“I can’t even explain how painful it was to our family,” Westmoreland’s father said.
So, at the start of a new season, Westmoreland is retiring before his big-league career even got a chance to take off. And through all of this, Westmoreland says his mental toughness has truly been tested.
“I don’t know where I see myself [in 10 years]. I just know that no matter what I’m doing, I’m going to be happy,” Westmoreland said.
“He’s just inspired a lot of people. And myself, his father, I’m just the proudest guy in the world. And it has nothing to do with baseball.
Westmoreland wants to attend college and study business management. He hopes to work in baseball in the future, and keep inspiring others with his story.