Athlete From Tulsa Returns Home After 109 Days In Hospitals
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa athlete is home with his family, after spending nearly four months in two hospitals. Doctors say he had a serious reaction to a heat stroke while exercising.
The Springman family is calling it their own “Christmas miracle.”
22-year-old Slater Springman left St. Francis after 109 days spent in two hospitals. It's a moment his family says is possible thanks to great doctors and strong faith.
Not just his faith, and his family's, but from beyond the Oklahoma state line.
Slater graduated from Holland Hall and went on to play baseball at Freed-Hardeman University in Tennessee. Prayers and support poured in from the University of Oklahoma softball team, Rhoads University in Memphis, and several church groups.
Students at his college campus in Henderson, Tennessee stood together in prayer in September, too.
"That's what saved his life. God heard those prayers,” his father, Bill, said.
"I really think that's kinda what saved me,” Slater said.
While Slater was surrounded with support, he took action, too.
He recalled walking for the first time in the hospital, in early November.
"That's kind of when I knew I was hitting a turning point and getting a lot better,” he said.
The Freed-Hardeman University baseball player had only run a few laps back in August, when he collapsed. He spent about a month in the ICU at a hospital in Jackson, Tennessee, then was flown to St. Francis.
Doctors told the family he had a severe reaction to a heat stroke, seeing numbers they'd never seen in other patients.
"We can't look back and ask, 'Why?' We just gotta go forward,” Bill said.
Bill says Slater’s doctor, Dr. Joe Reese, along with doctors in Tennessee, will be looking for answers in a case study for the American Medical Journal.
“There’s many people across the country who are studying why this happens. Because there’s still something with heat stroke and seizures that this rhabdomyolysis is a byproduct of, that is really a killer,” Bill said.
“That’s why a lot of people don’t make it from that. That’s why his case is so unique.”
Slater's focus is on his continued recovery and taking even bigger steps to get back on the field.
"I want to get to the point where I used to be, where I could get back to doing everything on my own,” Slater said.
"Has a long ways to go, so please, please, keep prayers up,” Bill said.
Slater said he plans to go back to school next fall.