Tyler Murphy’s world was turned upside down last August when a boating accident derailed his collegiate baseball dreams. While the injuries he sustained and the doctors’ prognosis for his recovery seemed bleak at first, Murphy wowed friends, family, and supporters by standing on his own two feet, unassisted, only two months after the accident.
Now, eight months after taking that stand, Murphy is set to amaze once again when he returns to the mound to pitch for the first time since the accident on Wednesday as part of the 18U Stanislaus Babe Ruth team.
“I’m just really eager and pumped up to get out there again. It’s not a big game or anything, but it’s just a big deal that I’m able to get out there,” Murphy said. “We’re all excited that I’ll be able to pitch again in a game.”
Murphy—ace pitcher for Turlock High in 2012 and 2013—had signed on to play at St. Mary’s College before suffering nerve, muscle, and tendon damage to his right hand and leg when he was hit by a boat’s propeller during a day of summer fun at Lake Tulloch. After the initial shock of the incident wore off, Murphy underwent several medical procedures and surgeries before getting to work on returning to the game he loves.
Weeks of therapy and rehab at home turned into months, and when he arrived at St. Mary’s for his first semester as a freshman, his work continued with the baseball team as he rehabbed with team doctors and participated in team work outs and activities.
Though his leg is still a point of focus for rehab, Murphy’s hand has returned to throwing form as he’s been able to regain some of the heat he was once so well known for.
“My hand's back to normal. I have no feeling in part of my ring finger in my hand, but it's fine. I can still pitch,” Murphy said. “My arm strength’s starting to come back; the velocity is starting to come back.
“As the process keeps going the body starts to adjust to what it needs. My body’s kind of adapted and it’s only going to keep getting better from here now that I’m able to do stuff and be active again,” he added.
But while Murphy managed to land on St. Mary’s roster as he had always wanted to, his role was an inactive one—a role he was more than unhappy with as he yearned to play once again. That yearning will soon be quelled when Murphy returns to his former home field at Turlock High in four days to face opposing batters once again.
“I grew up around the game and have been playing since I was about four, so being able to get back on the field and just throw the ball around and move around is awesome,” Murphy said. “I’m so excited to be able to get back out there on the field, I can’t emphasize that enough. This is definitely the longest I’ve taken off from the game of baseball; just having to sit and watch it tough.”