An MLB player who lost an eye in a suicide attempt is making a comeback and hit a home run one year after the incident

An MLB player who lost an eye in a suicide attempt is making a comeback and hit a home run one year after the incident
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Drew Robinson
via 8 News Now Las Vegas
  • MLB player Drew Robinson lost his eye in a suicide attempt last April.

  • After recovering, Robinson returned to baseball in the San Francisco Giants' farm system.

  • On Tuesday, Robinson hit a home run in triple-A, marking a year of progress since the attempt.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Drew Robinson hit his first home run of the minor league baseball season for the Sacramento River Cats, the triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, on Tuesday night.

The towering hit was the 29-year-old outfielder's first home run since returning to baseball from a life-changing incident. Robinson missed the entire 2020 season after a failed suicide attempt last April, which cost him his right eye.

"I still have a lot of work to do," Robinson said in an interview with 8 News NOW Las Vegas. "I know that this is a never-ending battle with some dark thoughts, but I've come so far in 13 months, so it just excites me."

Robinson's landmark home run prophetically came in his hometown of Las Vegas, where the suicide attempt took place via gunshot to the head, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN.

Despite achieving his childhood dream of playing professional baseball, Robinson dealt with emotional trauma stemming from his parents' divorce as a child.

"We all were not very good at handling our emotions," Robinson told Pasan. "And that caused a lot of stress and internal struggles. I think we all had this idea of a perfect family and things like that. When it didn't live up to that, we really questioned everything we were doing."

He would have frequent mental episodes in which he talked to himself in the first-person plural to remind himself that things wouldn't make him happy.

"When something would go wrong, I'm like, 'Why is this happening?' The voice in my head would answer, 'Well, of course, it was happening. It's us. That's just how your life goes. You don't get to enjoy these things,'" Robinson told Passan.

The issues didn't hold Robinson back from establishing himself as a top baseball prospect at Silverado High School. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers, and he spent six years in the minors before making the Rangers' opening-day roster in 2017.

Robinson then spent two seasons in Texas before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018. His season was cut short when he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, and the Cardinals released him in August.

The San Francisco Giants then brought Robinson in on a minor-league contract in October of 2019 after recovering from the surgery. Still, his impending suicide attempt six months later kept him off the baseball field for another year.

Robinson survived the incident and awoke with a detached eyeball. He immediately called 911, and doctors saved his life and replaced his eye with a prosthetic one. He still faced a long road back to baseball, and his first step was addressing his mental health.

Robinson spent five days at a psychiatric hospital after the incident. Over the next several months, therapy and medication became central to Robinson's new routine as he worked his way back from recovery.

Robinson reached back out to the Giants following the accident, and he was introduced to Dr. Shana Alexander, a clinical psychologist who is the team's employee assistance program director. The Giants re-signed Robinson to a minor-league contract. With Alexander's help, he became an organizational spokesperson for suicide awareness while he trained to get back on the field.

"He demonstrated the power of vulnerability and made it look so simple by just talking," Alexander told Passan. "He encouraged people to just connect with one another and talk more. And that in itself was a huge barrier that we broke bringing him in and showing players that we're all susceptible to mental illness."

Robinson hopes to be an inspiring example for others dealing with mental illness. And now, with a milestone home run now under his belt, the spotlight is sure to be on him as he progresses through the minor league season.

"How can I go through this and not find a way to try to help other people or impact other people's lives?" he said. "Just have this happen and just move on with my life the way I was before? There's no way. This was a huge sign. A huge, painful sign that I'm supposed to help people get through something that they don't think is winnable."

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