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Rob Tringali/Getty Drew Robinson in February 2020
Professional baseball player Drew Robinson wants his journey of healing to help others do the same — so he's opening up about the day last year when his life changed forever.
The 28-year-old — who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2010, making his major league debut for the team in 2017, before being traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018 — attempted suicide one month into the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 16, 2020.
Robinson discussed the 20 hours that followed the attempt, and the months since, in a powerful new interview with ESPN, as well as an E60 documentary, Alive: The Drew Robinson Story.
"I'm here for a reason," Robinson told ESPN in the December interview.
Back in April, Robinson was grappling with depression when he shot himself in the right side of his head at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Robinson survived the gunshot, and didn't reach out for help for hours. He detailed spending time laying on the floor, showering and even brushing his teeth despite his head wound.
He woke up the next day, spending hours deciding between calling 9-1-1 and shooting himself again. He told ESPN he ultimately realized, "I want to live."
"I was supposed to go through that," Robinson reflected now. "I'm supposed to help people get through battles that don't seem winnable. It was completely supposed to happen. There's no other answer. It doesn't make any sense. It was supposed to happen."
He added, "I'm free now. I shot myself, but I killed my ego."
Robinson detailed struggling with his mental health for years, intensified when his parents went through a divorce when he was 7. His family, he said, was "not very good at handling our emotions," which caused "a lot of stress and internal struggles."
Then, when he was drafted as a teen, Robinson said he wasn't mentally prepared for the toll professional baseball would take — particularly being promoted and demoted frequently from the Rangers and their minor league affiliates.
When he was released by the Cardinals in 2019, he said his depression and suicidal ideation worsened. At that point he realized he needed to seek help, and began seeing a therapist and reading self-development books. Still, though, he questioned every decision he made and every relationship he had.
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Though the athlete was signed to a non-guaranteed minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants in January of last year, the entire season was eventually canceled due to the pandemic.
Back on April 17, Robinson was hospitalized after finally calling 9-1-1. He had ruptured his right eyeball, fractured his frontal sinus — which caused leakage of cerebrospinal fluid that had to be repaired — and had an exit wound above his left cheekbone. He'll now wear a prosthesis where his right eye was.
His family rushed to support him despite not being able to be present at the hospital due to coronavirus restrictions. He said he told his older brother and fellow baseball player Chad Robinson over the phone, "I'm meant to be alive. I'm meant to be alive."
drew Robinson/ instagram Drew Robinson
Now, Robinson is undergoing therapy, has developed wellness routines including meditation, and began practicing baseball again in July, according to ESPN. The Giants resigned him for the minor league in November.
Though he is still dealing with depression, Robinson said he's learned to not hold back from expressing his thoughts and feelings.
"How can I go through this and not find a way to try to help other people or impact other people's lives?" he said. "Just have this happen and just move on with my life the way I was before? There's no way. This was a huge sign. A huge, painful sign that I'm supposed to help people get through something that they don't think is winnable."
Robinson told ESPN, "Even though I have one less eye, I haven't seen things this clear my entire life."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.