Reitz High Senior baseball player recovers after brain surgery

Reitz High Senior baseball player recovers after brain surgery
Reitz Senior Camden Hancock, who is recovering after having brain surgery, smiles in his west side home.

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - A Reitz High School Senior is defying the odds after getting up to walk again days after having brain surgery last week.

Like baseball, life can throw us many curveballs. Most players will tell you they'll do their very best to hit it out of the park.

Reitz baseball player Camden Hancock is one of them.

On cell phone video, you can see Hancock walking through hospital halls with nurses, family, and friends cheering him on. It's a feat that stunned his loved ones: walking so soon after enduring brain surgery.

"I was a basket case," Hancock's mom, Sara Springer, said. "I don't even remember the ride from Mt. Vernon to Evansville."

It was a phone call no parent wants to receive. Authorities called Springer notifying her son had been in a car accident and was taken to a local hospital.

An Indiana State Trooper witnessed her son's car slow down on University Parkway and Diamond Avenue before watching it cross four lanes of traffic and rolling into a ditch.

"The trooper had to bust out his window to get Camden out," said Springer. "At that point, he told us that the way they found him, he had a seizure."

What doctors found after a few tests floored Hancock's family. Doctors saw something abnormal after a CAT scan, and an MRI test showed what had caused the teen to have a seizure.

"And that's where they found the tumor, which was the size of a quarter," Springer said.

Doctors call it an intrinsic tumor, located deep inside Hancock's back left side of his brainstem.

"We were told he could be paralyzed," Springer said. "He could lose his speech all kinds of stuff. And, nothing, I mean he has some issues with his right hand, and his vision a little bit," she paused. "If we only get those two things, we'll take it."

It's that positive attitude that Springer says is lifting her son's spirits. With the help of his girlfriend and close friends, even strangers, Hancock is getting through recovery like it's a cakewalk to home plate.

"I'd like to thank all of the support they've been giving me," Hancock said. "It makes me feel good because it just shows all the people supporting me and helping me get through all this."

"It's tough," Springer said. "But you know, like I said, he's so strong. No matter what happens for this next stage, I feel like the surgery is the hardest part."

Hancock's coach, Reitz Baseball Head Coach Todd Deweese, is a close family friend and says he's known Hancock since he was a small child.

"Most of the time it's competition between another player or another team," Deweese said. "This is competition against a tumor. For him to be up walking around the next day, in my opinion, he's out doing the competition."

The Hancock family is waiting for pathology results in the next few days and are hoping for the best moving forward.

Springer's stepson, Jackson, designed a shirt for his stepbrother. With some help of family and Castle's Athletic Director, t-shirts are being sold for a small price.

Below is a personal note from Camden Hancock's family, thanking individuals for the support they've received over the last week:

"Thank you for coming to our home to support Camden and our family.  I know time on the air is limited but we'd certainly like to thank the following people:
Doctor Troffkin and his entire staff in the O.R.
The greatest nurses on the planet at Deaconess Gateway (Rachel, Robert, Megan, Ulises, Madison, Chris, Aly, Nicky, Shelly....and I know there are more that I'm leaving out.)
Jennifer Wood who started the Go Fund Me page and has been a family friend for many years.
Nikki Lynn and Leroy's Tavern (Soup for Camden day)
Reitz Baseball Coaches, Athletic Director Beth Hagan, and entire staff and faculty at RHS
Our employers (Hilliard Lyons (mom), Hoosier Lottery (dad), Architectural Sales (step dad), Case Engineering (step mom).
ALL SIAC baseball teams and other baseball teams in the Tri state.  Every single team has given support for Camden and the entire Reitz Baseball team.
His girlfriend Kaylie Kempf and her parents Julie and Steve Kempf.
And of course our families and friends. The Hancock and Springer families and friends have come through as always when needed most.
And last but not least, Channel 14 for taking the time to speak with Sara and Camden about this and how we will use this to make all of us better."

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