For love of the game - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

For love of the game

By Ryan Peterson - bio | email

TYLER, TEXAS (KLTV) -  Dillion Buhrkhul has always felt at home on the baseball field.

"There's nothing like it," Buhrkhul said.  "I wouldn't be anywhere else."

When he was sixteen, pitching for All Saints, Buhrkhul was invited to elite major league baseball camps.  He was a pitching ace and a future star.  Less than a year later, he was fighting for his life.

"My sophomore year I got an unknown virus that attacked all the organs in my body and shut them down," Buhrkhul said.  "I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I went into cardiac arrest and in a coma for about a week."

Buhrkhul was given a 30 percent chance to live.  If he did live, doctors said he could never play baseball again.

"I came into the hospital weighing 215 pounds," said Buhrkhul.  "I left weighing 185. It took me about two weeks before I could even walk."

Walking out of the hospital was already a victory.  Buhrkhul was thinking much bigger.  Like how to get back on the field.

"The doctors were pretty upset about it," he said.  "But my mom was like it's up to you. It was five or six months just trying to push through. Hitting the weight room a lot, trying to get back where I was."

After an amazing and unlikely recovery, there was no reward waiting for the 17 year old.

"My first game back I tore the labrum in my shoulder and I couldn't throw for five to six months after that," Buhrkhul said.

A lesser man, or kid, would have taken the hint.  It's not meant to be.  Not Buhrkhul

"I thought about it," he said of quitting.  "But if you want something bad enough you're going to keep doing it. This was my goal my entire life was to play college baseball so I just fought through it."

The fight has led him to T.J.C.

"We feel that's something he did," said T.J.C. Head Baseball Coach Doug Wren.  "He competed his way through an illness and willed his way to play college baseball and that's something not a lot of people can say. We thought it was great story, but we feel like Dillons' a great athlete. It's something we didn't hesitate about."

For the first time, in a long time, Buhrkhul says he feels great.  His arm has no pain and he's happy to be an Apache.

"To be honest I did not think I'd be here right now," Buhrkhul said.  "But I think this is where I was supposed to be. It sounds weird but I'm kind of glad all that stuff happened to me because this is where I feel I should be."

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