The Astros celebrated their 2017 World Series victory with a parade through the streets of Houston on Nov. 3, two days after defeating the Dodgers in Los Angeles in Game 7 of the Fall Classic.
It was a joyous occasion for Astros fans, who finally found out what it was like to taste championship glory, but the day took a disastrous turn when Houston first base coach Rich Dauer was rushed to the hospital and underwent an operation for an acute subdural hematoma.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal wrote a detailed piece about Dauer’s near-death experience — doctors reportedly told Dauer’s wife and friends that he had just a 3 percent chance of survival — that took place after the 65-year-old slipped on a wet floor and hit the side of his head on Nov. 2, one day before the Astros’ parade. Dauer told The Athletic he didn’t have a headache immediately after his fall, but his condition worsened following the parade, and the retiring coach ultimately was carried from the stage on a stretcher.
“He was unresponsive, just a disaster,” Dr. James Muntz, a team physician who specializes in internal bleeding, told The Athletic of Dauer’s arrival at the hospital.
A CT scan showed there was blood around Dauer’s brain — a problem made worse by Dauer being on a blood thinner — and he was in a coma “almost brain dead” when the approximately three-hour surgery began, according to neurosurgeon Dr. David Cech. But fortunately, the surgery went well, and Dauer’s breathing tube was removed after just three days. It was nothing short of a miracle.
“I never repeated my name and the date so many times in my life,” Dauer told The Athletic of his recovery. “Every question was, ‘What’s your name? Where are you? Who is the president?’ I knew all that. There was never any time when I was out of it, never any time I couldn’t function. If it was up to me, I would have left (the hospital) as soon as I opened my eyes.”
Dauer left the hospital on Nov. 15, two weeks after the Astros’ World Series win and 12 days after he entered the hospital.
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