This archived article was written by: Staff writer
Trevor Bender, or as he’s better known as “TJ”, is a sophomore catcher for the Eagle’s baseball team. Bender was born and raised in Tooele, Utah where he played catcher for Tooele High School.
“My favorite memory from high school ball was going to St. George for the opening Pizza Hut Classic Tournament,” Bender said. He originally signed with USUE in 2015 and came down in the fall of that same year. Bender should have played his sophomore year last year, but had a few snags that held him up.
After finishing his freshman year, Bender went back to Tooele to spend the summer. He was playing in a summer ball in June when a runner took off to steal second, TJ hopped up to throw him out, but launched the ball way past his target because his elbow had just popped. “ I heard a loud pop and felt an intense pain in my elbow, I knew exactly what I had done,” explained Bender. He had just torn his UCL, which is a major ligament in the elbow essential to throwing.
Bender had no other choice but to get surgery that summer and try and be back the following year. He noted that surgery was worth while, and that he was glad he waited the full amount of time to get it back to 100 percent, but it did not end there with just an elbow surgery.
Last year as Bender was finishing his recovery and starting to get back into baseball, he started experiencing bloody noses, fatigue and tiredness. He finally went to a doctor and got blood work done to figure out what was going on. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, or for obvious reasons, just called ATP, is a rare blood disorder which lowers the body’s blood platelet count would be Benders next battle. “ I was scared and didn’t know what was going to happen,” He said. He started taking prescription drugs that are extremely harmful to his body for the first eight months to try and control it. It eventually stopped working, so Bender had to go to a cancer treatment facility to get treatments four different times. He said, “That worked for a while too and we thought we finally got it taken care of, but a little while later it came back again.” The next step they told him was going to be to remove his spleen. He underwent the surgery and everything went fine and thought it would be okay, But about a month ago, the symptoms come back. That right, Bender is still battling this disease this season while doing great things for the Eagles baseball squad like hitting four doubles in four games on opening weekend. Bender is con dent that the disease will be taken care of and that he for the most part has it under control for now. He plans to get his major in kinesiology where he hopes to be a physical therapist and help athletes recover from injuries. When Bender isn’t playing baseball, he says his favorite things include snowmobiling and playing with his dog Harper as well as spending time with his teammates.