Bay Area baseball prospect retires after losing eye – The Mercury News

Matt Imhof doesn’t want to be defined by what he called “my worst day.”

The Fremont product and former Phillies prospect who lost his right eye in a freak accident after a game last season announced his retirement from baseball Wednesday.

“I had two options,” Imhof wrote in an essay posted to ESPN.com. “I could let this injury define me. I could be angry — no one would blame me for that. I could be depressed, feel sorry for myself and live in the past. I could let the rest of my life be defined by the worst day of my life. Or, I could pick myself up, dust myself off and move on.”

Sounds like Imhof learned something from the game of baseball, which he played at Mission San Jose High in Fremont.

What was the accident, you ask?

While cooling down from a Clearwater Threshers, an Advanced-A club, Imhof was using a resistance band that snapped off a wall and a metal latch smashed his face.

“I was facing the wall, about 25-30 feet away from it, with a band in each hand,” Imhof wrote. “I pulled them back hard above my head so that my right hand was above my right ear and my left hand was above my left ear. As I got to the top of my motion, I felt the tension break. It’s a surreal moment; the moment you realize you’re screwed and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.”

He underwent surgery to have his eye removed and tried to rehab last season before deciding to retire.

“I have never doubted my ability to be successful in life and I don’t plan on starting now,” Imhof wrote. “Whether it’s a baseball field or a boardroom, I know my future is bright.”

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