Lowey tragedy opens door to new opportunity

WolfPack baseball player Tyler Lowey lost an eye doing what he loves. Social media is keeping him up-to-date with his classmates and giving him an advantage for when he returns to the journalism program. Photo courtesy of TRU Athletics

Nathan Crosby, Sports Editor  Ω

Various forms of social media are being used by a journalism professor to keep injured WolfPack baseball player Tyler Lowey a part of the TRU community while he is recovering in Alberta from a tragic accident.

Shawn Thompson is using his third-year Reporting for the Media class to bring Lowey into the classroom when he’s not even in the province.

“We want to use social media to build communities and build relationships outside the classroom. Tyler is in Calgary and he’s connected to the class through Twitter,” Thompson said.

Lowey’s life was turned upside down after taking a baseball to the eye while batting for the WolfPack team on Oct. 9 forcing him to leave the journalism program for a year to recover.
His right eye is now gone and he’s had to deal with his loss.

Like all determined athletes, he looked at the accident and has decided not to let it ruin his dreams.

Thompson said Twitter and Skype have an immediacy that email cannot compete with.
He added that social media is changing the relationship between student and instructor.

“When this terrible thing happened to Tyler, I realized it was also an opportunity for us to reach [out] and make him feel more like a participant.

“We want to see him come back next year and part of coming back is making him feel like he’s part of the community,” he said.

Thompson’s third-year journalism students are attending city council this week to learn about covering local politics and he wants them to tweet through the meetings so Tyler can be part of the class as they learn.

It is the instructor’s wish to let Tyler know that this setback doesn’t mean he can’t participate with the class.

As for Tyler, he was thankful for the response the school has given him.

“I’m doing good,” Lowey said from his home in Calgary.

“I found the day after the accident that I wouldn’t have an eye anymore, so I’ve come to terms with [that] pretty fast.

“There was really nothing I could do to change my situation and I’ve realized that, ‘Ya, I’ve lost an eye but I lost it playing baseball, I didn’t lose it from doing something stupid.’”

Baseball players are the type to play in rain, sun, or snow, whatever the circumstances, for love of the game. Playing baseball becomes a part of them, and it defines them and is nurtured in their souls.

Although Lowey’s accident was a tragic setback for him, it happened while playing the game he loves.

Surgery on his eye went successfully on Oct. 15.

From where he is resting in his parent’s home, Lowey offered his World Series prediction: the St. Louis Cardinals will narrowly beat the Texas Rangers because of their home field advantage.

To everyone who is thinking of Tyler right now and wanting to hear from him, he had this to say to his teammates and friends here at TRU.

“Thanks for all the support. Everyone back in Kamloops has been keeping in contact with me, calling me, texting me and stuff, it’s tough but it’s been a lot easier with all the support I’ve had.

“To my teammates, they know I love them. There are 45 of them, all that I consider to be my best friends and I can’t wait until I see them next year. I ‘m coming back next year, it’s not that far away, it will be here before you know it.”