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Sunday, July 02, 2017

Jim Bouton, Author and Former Pitcher, Struggles With Brain Disease

It is good for Bouton to have company, said his wife, Paula Kurman, who has a doctorate in interpersonal communications from Columbia. They have been married for 35 years and have lived here for more than 20, among the foxes and black bears, surrounded by pine trees. A cloud might roll by, straight through the screened-in porch, and there are no other homes in sight. Their children are grown and live elsewhere.

Bouton had a stroke five years ago this Aug. 15. They know the date because it was the 15th anniversary of the death of Bouton’s daughter, Laurie, in a car accident.

“The body knows, you know?” Kurman said, softly. “The body knows.”

Bouton’s body was largely unaffected by the stroke. But his mind, the one whose pointed and poignant observations produced the classic memoir “Ball Four” in 1970, will never be the same. This weekend in New York, at the convention for the Society of American Baseball Research, Bouton went public about his brain disease: cerebral amyloid angiopathy, which is linked to dementia.

Bouton had a smaller stroke before his 2012 episode, which was treated immediately with blood thinner. That was “catastrophic,” said Dr. Alec Kloman, a neurologist at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass., and led to a hemorrhage in the frontal lobe. The hemorrhage dissipated, but in the aftermath, Bouton’s language skills were essentially wiped out. He had to relearn how to read, write, speak and understand.

Kurman had worked with brain-damaged children many years before, and recognized troubling signs in her husband: repeating questions, difficulty organizing and categorizing information. A visit to Kloman confirmed that Bouton was suffering from more than the aftereffects of a stroke. He had mild cognitive impairment.

“The fear is that over time, 80 percent of patients progress into a demented stage in the next five years,” Kloman said. “It’s a shot across the bow. You’re being warned that something is coming.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 02, 2017 at 02:15 PM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: ball four, jim bouton

 

 

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