Houston Astros catching prospect Max Sapp, hospitalized for more than two weeks in Orlando, Fla., with a severe case of meningitis, took a first step toward recovery Wednesday when he was able to breathe on his own without the help of a respirator.
According to Ricky Bennett, Astros assistant general manager and director of player development, Sapp will soon begin therapy to recover from the illness, which has left him with significant memory loss.
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"He doesn't know who the president is; he doesn't know who his girlfriend is," Bennett said. "He doesn't have all of his memory back. He was unconscious for quite some time. It's a blessing he's with us. It's pretty scary stuff."
Sapp, 20, has played the last two seasons with the Lexington Legends after being selected by the Astros in the first round of the 2006 draft.
Meningitis is an infection of the fluid of the spinal cord and the fluid that surrounds the brain. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
Sapp was breathing with the help of a respirator after undergoing surgery to treat a severe sinus infection and contracting meningitis, as reported by the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday night. According to the report, Sapp was unable to breathe on his own because of occasional seizures.
Sapp is expected to be hospitalized for quite some time as he continues his recovery.
How this will affect Sapp from a professional standpoint remains to be seen.
"We're not thinking about baseball right now," Bennett said. "We have to get him healthy and back to normal. That's all that matters right now."