Last Tuesday, Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league pitcher Gage Hinsz underwent heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Hinsz is recovering now and progressing well, and hopes to eventually return to the game of baseball as soon as he is cleared by his doctor.
On Tuesday, we relayed a GoFundMe campaign for Hinsz, along with the news of his heart surgery. The campaign was actually started by some long time friends of Hinsz as a way to help him out, with no knowledge from Hinsz about the campaign. That campaign closed at a much lower cost yesterday.
I spoke with a member of Hinsz’s family yesterday who gave me some more information, but who wished to remain anonymous.
The estimated funds that Hinsz would need for recovery were much lower than his friends anticipated. They were originally working off a higher number, but when the insurance covered more than expected, the friends immediately lowered the goal. They also gave the Hinsz family access to post a message on the GoFundMe page.
A lot of those costs involve things that insurance wouldn’t cover, although there is a cap on those expenses. There are deductibles and co-payments for every appointment, and those will add up in the future, as Hinsz will have frequent visits with doctors and specialists to monitor his recovery. I knew that the Pirates’ minor leaguers received insurance — something that was questioned due to the wording in the GoFundMe campaign — but I was told today that it’s very good insurance that covers a lot of the costs.
There were also questions in the previous update about whether the Pirates were doing anything for Hinsz. The Pirates have kept in close contact with Hinsz, assisting in the diagnosis, and checking on his well-being on a regular basis. I’ve received word that Frank Coonelly gave Hinsz a call, Larry Broadway calls regularly, and the HR department is working with the family to see what additional help can be provided. The Pirates also cover the travel expenses for players to and from their appointments.
The previous update was surrounded by comments assuming the Pirates weren’t doing anything, which was upsetting to the family considering that Hinsz didn’t know about the heart condition until the Pirates assisted in detecting the issue. The family said that the Pirates, players in the organization past and present who have played with Gage, and family of those players have shown a lot of support, making the organization seem like a big family.
The Hinsz family wanted to relay the following message about Gage and his recovery.
A special thank you is being extended to the Pirates. The organization has been conducive in not only detecting the medical complication, but also in making sure that Gage obtained all of the information necessary to make the best decision to remedy his particular condition. With the assistance of the Pirates, Gage has been treated and provided the very best care. They have supported him and staff has been with him and his family during this difficult time. The Pirates staff personally take very good care of their players, they are a quality organization.
Gage is provided with an excellent health care plan through MLB. He will have out of pocket expenses, however there is a cap on that amount. A very close, longtime friend of Gage’s started a GoFundMe campaign to help with out of pocket and extra medical costs, along with other expenses that Gage will incur during his recovery. Gage was unaware that his friend gratuitously organized the GoFundMe campaign. Donations have been closed as the goal of $5,500 has been exceeded.
Gage and his family are most appreciate for the well wishes and support that have been sent his way!
On a personal note, I’ve covered Hinsz for four seasons now, almost since the day he arrived at Pirate City. Hinsz is a great kid who has already overcome a lot of adversity at a young age (he turned 22 a month ago). That includes two car crashes, a shoulder issue that was impacting him on the field last year, and now this issue. He was just getting back to normal during Spring Training and regaining his lost velocity from last year when this happened. You hate to see a good person go through so much, but Hinsz has been strong every step of the way and hasn’t let anything keep him down.
I wish a full and speedy recovery to Hinsz, the best wishes to him and his family, and look forward to eventually getting back to writing about him on the field. I invite you all to extend the same well wishes to Hinsz and his family in the comments.