UW-Superior Baseball Player Making Most of Senior Season Following Scary Medical Incident

The summer after his freshman season, David Dibble's heart stopped twice while helping in the bullpen and he was told he could never play sports again. Now, he's enjoying a final season playing for the Yellowjackets.

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The COVID-19 pandemic caused plenty of issues for spring athletes, but it did grant college athletes an extra year of eligibility. And for one UW-Superior baseball player, that’s given him another chance to defy the odds and play the sport that he loves.

There are few moments that David Dibble enjoys more than being out on the mound.

“I love the competitiveness, I like that it’s difficult because baseball’s not easy. Striking people out, that’s a lot of fun. I like just being under pressure, for me it’s a lot of fun being under pressure,” David, a senior pitcher with the Yellowjackets, said.

That was until one day in the summer of 2018 when all of that was almost taken away, while David was in the bullpen helping with his brother’s team.

“We were in the bullpen and I was throwing and next thing you know I was face down on the ground. My coach turned me over and my lips were blue so he started doing CPR for about like 10 minutes or so until the ambulance came and then they had to pull over a few times to restart my heart because my heart stopped again,” David said.

Once David made it to the hospital, he had to be flown to Milwaukee to see the right specialist who gave him the news he wasn’t ready to hear.

“I was in a coma for four days. After the four days, I finally woke up and they didn’t know if I was going to be myself again. They put a defibrillator in a few days later and a few days after that I got to come home, but they said I can’t play sports anymore,” David said.

But David wasn’t going to let that be the end of his story.

“I was on bed rest for a while and then I started moving around more. But I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t go to practice. But after a while, they let me do more and more things. I had to go to a lot of therapy. I had to go to speech therapy, physical therapy and then occupational therapy. After that, I started doing more things and eventually they told me you’re good to go,” David said.

Just a few months later that fall, David was back out there with the Yellowjackets gearing up for his sophomore season.

“I wasn’t going to let him tell me no,” David said.

“He got a second chance at life so any chance he gets to be on the field, he cherishes, he takes full advantage of so it’s awesome to be able to see him come up to the field every day and participate just like a normal college student,” UW-Superior baseball head coach TJ Oakes added.

David says he was actually CPR certified when the incident happened. But now he works with his family to help emphasize the importance of knowing what to do during medical emergencies while also making sure people especially athletes listen to their bodies.

“My whole family is CPR certified now and they all know what to do in a situation like that. We teach people to learn CPR and do it if you need it. It’s important but it’s something you want to know, but it’s something you’re never going to what to use,” David said.

“If something feels wrong, go get it checked out. You could be young and healthy but this day and age, you never know. So I think David has exemplified that if you feel like something’s wrong, go get it checked out and obviously we’re up to date with all of the AED stuff and he’s a big part of that. We don’t want what happened to him to happen to anyone else to have a different outcome,” Oakes added.

Although it was a scary experience for David and his family, it’s made him appreciate life and the game a little more.

“He defied the odds. Most people said he would never play sports again and he chose not to believe that and that’s what I encourage our guys to do is don’t believe what other people say and go for whatever you want to do. shoot for your goals and his goal was to play college baseball and here he is right here right now,” Oakes said.

“It means a lot more. At one point I wasn’t able to do this so it means I get to keep going and I’m going to do whatever I can to keep going. Spend time with family and friends because you never know when it’s going to be your last day so just make the most out of each day and just do what you can,” David said.

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