Minor League Sports

Cedar Rapids Kernels CEO Doug Nelson still recovering from severe head injury

Kernels lose to Kane County, 9-3

Cedar Rapids Kernels’ GM Doug Nelson is photographed on top of the home dugout at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, June 9, 2016.  (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Kernels’ GM Doug Nelson is photographed on top of the home dugout at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, June 9, 2016. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — It was one beautiful weather evening Monday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Definitely not normal April temperatures.

You had to consider yourself lucky if you were out watching the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

“It’s great to be out here,” Doug Nelson said, prior to his club’s 9-3 loss to Kane County.

It was great for the Kernels Chief Executive Officer to be anywhere, honestly, considering the harrowing experience he went through in mid-February. Nelson slipped down a flight of stairs at his home and hit his head on the basement floor, resulting in head injuries so severe he still hasn’t fully recovered.

He spent over a week in the intensive care unit of a local hospital.

“The pain has now shifted from my head to all of the medical bills that are coming in,” he deadpanned. “My wife and I were moving cabinets, I think. I don’t have any memory of it. We have a finished basement, and I was halfway down our stairwell, and somehow I fell.”

Nelson had a severe contusion on one side of his head and hemorraghing on the other side.

“You’ll appreciate this, being a husband,” he said. “I don’t know how many days went by, maybe eight or so in the ICU. All of a sudden, I wake up, and I’m in a hospital room. I assumed it was (the next day). So my first conversation with my wife, Joann, was debating what day it was. My first conversation was an argument with my spouse.”

Nelson isn’t able to be at the ballpark full time, yet. He still gets regular headaches and is so sensitive to loud noises that he jokes he has turned into an old man, yelling to turn the music on the stadium public-address system down.

“I’ll recover,” he said. “It gives me a bigger appreciation for athletes who suffer concussions. I never had a true appreciation for that until now.”

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The Kernels (1-4) lost their third straight game, as Kane County broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the sixth inning. Cedar Rapids was limited to six hits, including solo home runs from Chris Williams and Trey Cabbage.

The teams play again Tuesday night at 6:35. It’s part of a seven-game homestand for the Kernels that could turn into a 13-game homestand.

Cedar Rapids is scheduled to play games April 15-17 at Quad Cities, but severe Mississippi River flooding could result in those games being played at Veterans Memorial Stadium instead of QC’s Modern Woodmen Park, which borders the Mississippi. The Kernels expect a final decision on that to be made as early as Tuesday.

They host Beloit for three games April 18-20 following the Quad Cities series, wherever it is played.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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