By Allison Steele, Staff Writer
It was baseball his junior year in high school. He was pitching. He wound up and released the ball—soaring across the plate at 90 mph. But the crack of the bat cut through the air as the ball headed in a line drive to the pitcher. Pitcher Garret Bronkema had been in this situation many times. All he had to do is lift his mitt, and it’s an easy out. But this ball is coming too fast. Bronkema could not react fast enough. The ball struck Bronkema’s left eye. The field went silent, waiting for movement. But Bronkema didn’t get up. Panic ensued: his coach, mother, and teammates players headed to the pitcher’s mound. When he recovered himself, his ___ noticed something wrong. Bronkema’s left eye was slightly lower in his head than usual. He missed his last four games and the team struggled without him.
Bronkema has played multiple sports throughout his life, but his heart is with baseball. He has been in love with the game for fifteen years and has been the star pitcher for eight of those fifteen years. Never has he sustained such a gruesome injury. It is an injury that still affects him to this day.
Garret was not able to continue his season and missed the last four games. Without the best pitcher, the team struggled a bit. Not only did it affect his eye, but his arm too. Not being able to pitch or exercise, his arm laid dormant and weakened over time. When his eye was healed he had to get back to it and start working out. He worked hard to get his arm back up to the right speed.
He went to school like nothing was wrong. He would not accept any pity or sympathy from anyone. Even if someone wanted to treat him differently, he would not let them.
When it happed everyone was in shock, but when they came to their senses it was a little different. While Garret blacked out the team was shocked. They did not know what to think. They knew he would be out for the season and would have to finish it without him. His mother was frantic, like any mother would be. His dad was calmer and trusted that his son would be alright. When Garret woke up there was plenty of people standing over him, worrying for him.
When the line drive hit his left eye it changed him physically forever. His eye socket was broke in three different places and his nose had a slight fracture. Garret could not see out of his eye for two to three weeks after the incident. Not only was his eye too swollen to see out of, but his eye was shifting in his head. Garret had perfect vision until this day. Now he has to live with astigmatism of negative four in his left eye. Eventually, his bad eye sight on his left side deteriorated his eye sight on the right side. His right was trying to compensate for his left eye, but in the end it was not enough and his right eye was sucked into the bad eye sight party. It was hard for him to get used to this injury. It was even harder for him to get used to not having perfect eyesight. For once in his life, his vision was not clear. He was discouraged, but he persevered. The injury still bothers him a bit to this day.
Garret is strong. He did not pout about the injury or give up on his dream and the sport he loved. He went to school like nothing was wrong. He would not accept any pity or sympathy from anyone. Even if someone wanted to treat him differently, he would not let them. Luckily, no one dared to treat him any differently. Garret still pitches a ball over 90 miles per hour. Now he pitches in his favorite game for Olivet Nazarene University.