July 29, 2013
WNUR Sports feature on Cody Stevens
RICHMOND, Va. -- Northwestern redshirt junior Cody Stevens has received the 2013 Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award given by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Stevens is one of seven members of the college baseball community to win this year's honor.
It was the summer of 2012, and like hundreds of ballplayers around the country, Stevens was spending his time playing in one of a dozen or more summer collegiate baseball leagues. Stevens was stationed about an hour south of Columbus, Ohio on the banks of the Scioto River in the town of Chillicothe. Playing for the Paints in the Prospect League, everything changed for the Glenview, Ill., native on June 15, more than 13 months ago.
In a game against the West Virginia Miners that evening, Stevens was accidentally hit in the head by a pitch from Will Blalock. As most any batter would be in that situation, Stevens was removed from the game; however there was no reason to believe there was any serious damage at the time. On the bus after the game and en route to the next town, everything changed.
Stevens began to develop a blood clot around his brain. After being taken by ambulance to one hospital and eventually flown by helicopter to another in Charleston, W. Va., Dr. Joseph Crowe, one of the country's leading neurosurgeons, operated to relieve the pressure. The surgery was a success and the road to a full recovery was soon underway.
Through an unbelievably strong faith and an interminable will to return to the diamond, Stevens did just that this summer when he rejoined the Paints upon the conclusion of Northwestern's academic year. The son of NU head coach Paul Stevens
began working with the Wildcats again this past spring while taking a step away from competition by using a medical redshirt. In addition to his work in practice and in the classroom with the 'Cats, Stevens completed an internship in several different departments with the Chicago Cubs during the 2013 winter quarter to get a feel for what its like to have a career in sports.
As for Stevens' relationship with Blalock, a pitcher for the Lipscomb Bisons, it remains even stronger than one could ever imagine. The latter visited the former in the hospital and the two have grown closer through the game of baseball. Stevens even traveled to Nashville this spring where he spent time with the Blalock family.
Stevens and the Paints, including fellow Wildcats Reed Mason and Jack Quigley, are in the final week of the Prospect League's regular season. The team is 30-24 this summer and just one game out of a playoff spot. He is expected to play for his school, Northwestern, once again in spring 2014.
The Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award, first bestowed in 2011, is named for the head coach at Wake Forest who donated a kidney to one of his players, Kevin Jordan, just prior to Jordan's freshman season.
For more on Stevens and all the 2013 Walter Award recipients from CollegeBaseballInsider.com, please click here.
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