Former Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker appeared on The Fan Morning Show with Colin Dunlap and Chris Mack Monday morning to talk about his own case of appendicitis after Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick missed Sunday’s game with the condition.
“I remember that day like it was yesterday because you never forget how terrible your stomach really feels until you have appendicitis,” Walker said on the show. “I remember sitting and laying on a table in the room and Jordy (Mercer) kept coming in and out … He was, like, petting my head and I’m like, ‘Jordy, I’m fine. It’s gonna be okay. If this is something worse than a stomachache, we’re gonna be okay.'”
Walker joked that Mercer thought his season was through — and even that he could die. On the way to the hospital, he learned the dangers of untreated appendicitis and gained some understanding on the matter.
“That was a bizarre day,” Walker said. “It ended up being horrible timing for me because I was having the best year of my career in 2014. I ended up winning the Silver Slugger that year at second base, but I didn’t make the All-Star game.”
He was asked about the side effects of the recovery process and how it affected his return to playing.
“You bounce back, certainly, pretty quickly,” Walker said. “I think for me or for a baseball player, the swinging motion was the thing after you have the surgery. Obviously, you have a couple sutures in your stomach. As soon as they take your appendix out, the pain essentially goes away minus the surgical spot … I can remember, after about five days, I was good.”
Walker added that he was swinging a bat again after a week, but he still wasn’t feeling great. He was back fully after two weeks of healing.
“That first week to 10 days is a little touch and go,” Walker said.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow missed two and a half during the preseason this year. Ben Roethlisberger had the procedure in 2006 and missed two weeks.
Fitzpatrick is expected to miss multiple weeks after undergoing an appendectomy on Saturday. He was in the Steelers locker room on Monday.