It’s tough news to report when a 22-year old baseball player announces his retirement, especially given the hardscrabble road that Ryan Westmoreland has trod over the past four years.
Once one of Boston’s most promising prospects, Westmoreland announced his retirement today after two brain surgeries for a cavernous malformation growing on his brain steam left him unable to perform at the level demanded of a professional athlete.
“With a clear mind and heart, as well as the unwavering support and friendship of my family, friends, agent(s), doctors, therapists, and the Boston Red Sox, I have decided to voluntarily retire as a professional baseball player,” Westmoreland said in a statement e-mailed to New England media outlets.
Westmoreland attended Portsmouth High School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. In 2007 and 2008, he made the Rhode Island All-State team and was named Rhode Island Player of Year.
Although committed to Vanderbilt, the Red Sox drafted Westmoreland in the 5th round in 2008. He signed with Boston, received a $2 million signing bonus and was assigned to the single A Lowell Spinners where he batted .296 with seven home runs, 35 runs batted in (RBIs), and a .401 on-base percentage in 60 games during the 2009 season.
Following his 2009 season with Lowell he complained of dizziness and numbness that prompted follow ups with Doctor’s who diagnosed the potentially fatal condition.
After surgeries in 2010 and again in 2012 after a setback in this rehabilitation, Westmoreland decided to pull the plug on his professional career. His words say it all:
“Although it is a very difficult decision for me, it has become clear that the neurological damage caused by the most recent cavernous malformation and surgery leaves me with physical challenges that make it impossible to play the game at such a high level,” Westmoreland said in the statement.
“In my heart, I know that I have worked as hard as one possibly could to overcome the obstacles presented by this unfortunate series of events. It is with that confidence that I am comfortable turning the page.”
Best of luck in all your future endeavors Ryan Westmoreland.