Jonny Gomes is no stranger to throwing caution to the wind while playing the outfield. As it turns out, he has a good reason — or five — for playing so fearlessly.
“I’ve almost died five times,” Gomes told WEEI.com.
Gomes, one of the most charismatic individuals in the Red Sox’ very loose clubhouse, has apparently stared death in the face five times. He’s not only lived to tell about it, but he says he’s also become a stronger person, and player, because of the experiences.
“It’s pretty much how I approach everything,” Gomes said. “I’m not trying to test life. None of those things are adrenaline rushes, but just unfortunate things.”
Gomes says his first brush with death came during the outfielder’s freshman year of high school, and involved a candle tipping over and lighting the sleeping bag he was sleeping in on fire.
The second incident was a car accident on a Memorial Day weekend. Gomes spent two days in the hospital, while one of his best friends was tragically killed.
Incident No. 3 involved Gomes almost getting shot by “an old, crazy moonshiner” while camping with his friends during his senior year of high school.
The fourth came on Christmas Eve 2002, when Gomes was a prospect in the Tampa Bay organization. He was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack.
And finally, as WEEI.com reports, Gomes had a run-in with “a wolf owned by a man who was helping tend to Gomes’ grandmother’s property.”
All of these near-death experiences are unique and terrifying in their own right. They’re also very similar in that they all shaped the courageous — and maybe even somewhat crazy — athlete that Gomes is today.