Former Red Sox 1B Sean Casey recounts narrowly escaping death

Rob Bradford
February 20, 2015 - 6:15 am
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The question to Sean Casey was, "What happened to you last year?" "Some crazy stuff," the former Red Sox first baseman responded. What happened was that the 40-year-old almost died. He didn't need a reminder, but two days ago he was offered one anyway thanks to the death of former NBA player Jerome Kersey. The 51-year-old passed away from a pulmonary embolism after experiencing a blood clot in his left calf. It was all too similar to what Casey endured about a year ago. "For me, it was one of those life-changing moments," Casey said. "It makes you take a step back and enjoy every movement. Not a day goes by where I don't think about what happened." Casey survived what is called a saddle embolism, which shuts down both lungs, not just one. His doctor told him after the fact that surviving such an incident is almost unheard of. Now, 13 months later, he has been afforded another chance to reflect on his good fortune. Here's what happened: It was Dec. 15, 2013, and Casey and his wife were traveling back from David Ortiz's celebrity golf tournament in the Dominican Republic when he experienced a cramp in his calf. While his wife encouraged him to make a doctor's appointment, the former ballplayer saw no need. "Knee surgeries. Orbital surgery. Broke my back. Broke my pelvis. Shoulder surgeries," he said. "I was walking wounded my whole life. Cramp in my calf? Are you kidding me? I'll stretch it out a little bit." Later that week, however, he started surfacing a strange cough, leading his wife to another plea to see a doctor. Once again, he didn't. But while traveling to New York for his work on MLB Network, Casey was forced to reassess. He was getting a magazine at the terminal when his name was paged for his flight. Casey immediately dropped the newspaper he was looking at, started running to the gate, and then ... "I ran 10 feet and I literally went down to a knee," he remembered. "It felt like somebody was sucking the life out of me. I thought I was having a heart attack." He had just had his saddle embolism. "One of the doctors said, 'Do you believe in God?' Yeah I believe in God. He said, 'Well, this is kind of a God thing.' He said that moment in the airport was your death moment," Casey recalled. "People don't come back from that." It still wouldn't be until three days later that he finally got checked out, with the pain then going from his groin to his calf. After he underwent a CT scan, a doctor was immediately called to discover the blood clot in Casey's left leg. Since the clot had been in there too long, Casey's treatment was simply staying on the blood thinning medicine Xarelto. He was forced to draw back on his work at MLB Network, and he didn't feel quite well enough to make a return to where it all started, the Dominican Republic, last December (both mentally and physically). This year he will be back with MLB Network on his full schedule, including his first spring training in two years. "Now," he said. "I'm thankful for each and every day."