FAIRBORN — No period between Christmas and Easter has been as turbulent for Craig Stiefel as the one that ended last weekend.
Stiefel feared over the winter he wouldn’t be able to watch his son Seth play baseball again. He not only watched Seth play for Anna in a nonconference game against Coldwater on Saturday at Wright State’s Nischwitz Stadium but also threw a ceremonial first pitch to his son.
Stiefel, a Lehman Catholic graduate and father of three, suffered a seizure at basketball game at Anna on Dec. 27. Doctors soon discovered he had a brain tumor, which was surgically removed in January.
After a recovery process that lasted several weeks, Stiefel has resumed normal activities.
“It’s good to just get out and watch a ballgame,” Stiefel said. “There was a short time period I didn’t know if I’d get to see my son play his senior year. It’s fun to be around again.”
Stiefel was rushed first to Wilson Hospital in Sidney and then transported to Kettering Health after suffering the seizure at Anna’s basketball game against Versailles. Doctors soon discovered the tumor, and it was surgically removed on Jan. 5.
Stiefel said the seizure happening at the game was the best possible scenario, in part because he was immediately helped by Anna’s training staff.
“Just 24 hours before that, we were driving home from the Jeffersonville outlet mall,” Stiefel said. “I had a whole family in the car. It could have been a lot worse — it could have happened in the car and I could have killed them and a lot of people on the road. If it was going to happen, that was the best place.”
The surgery left him with 40 staples on his head, which were removed later that month. Tests showed the tumor was benign.
Stiefel slowly recovered from the procedure and was cleared by his neurosurgeon in late February to begin driving and slowly return to work.
The seizure and surgery happened in the middle of a tumultuous time for the Stiefels. Seth Stiefel tore his ACL in Week 4 of football season. In mid-January, just weeks after the surgery, Stiefel’s sister Cheryl Stiefel Francis passed away.
Seth Stiefel said he’s happy to see his father has come through it all in good spirits.
“After all that happened, it’s just nice to get back out and playing again,” Seth Stiefel said. “It’s what he wants. Baseball’s his favorite sport, my favorite. So, it’s just great. …Everybody’s healthy, and we’re both doing well. Making our way back now.”
The ceremonial first pitch was organized by Coldwater coach Brian Haralmert, who is a first cousin of Stiefel’s wife Nancy.
Stiefel, who is also spending part of his spring watching daughter Maggie play JO volleyball, said he’s happy to be back to worrying about normal day-to-day things — like the weather.
“Hopefully, the weather warms up so we can play games consistently,” Stiefel said. “It’s been good, though. I’m very, very grateful and very thankful that I’m here to watch it.”
Contact Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.