Former Lotte Giants catcher dies

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Former Lotte Giants catcher dies


Lim Soo-hyuk, who was in a vegetative state for close to a decade after collapsing during a game in 2000, died early yesterday. [NEWSIS]

A former catcher who fell into a vegetative state in the prime of his career was pronounced dead early yesterday after spending the past decade in a persistent vegetative state. Former Lotte Giants catcher Lim Soo-hyuk, 40, was pronounced dead at the Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital in eastern Seoul early yesterday.

Lim was being taken care of at his parents apartment unit in Myeongil-dong, eastern Seoul when his condition reportedly worsened this morning. Lim was taken to the nearby Kangdong Sacred Heart Hospital with a fever. Lim began to show signs of respiratory problems at the hospital and was pronounced dead at the hospital yesterday morning.

Lim was drafted in 1994 and listed at 185 centimeters (6 feet 1 inch) and 90 kilograms (198 pounds), he was tabbed early on as a promising ball player with a lot of potential. However, soon after the start of his seventh season, Lim suddenly collapsed at the second base during an April, 18 2000 game against the LG Twins at the Jamsil Stadium in southern Seoul. According to the medical reports, Lim collapsed due to a heart arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat and failed to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation on time. Although an emergency medical service vehicle arrived and transported Lim to a hospital, the brain damage he received from the incident was said to have resulted largely from the lack of first aid soon after Lim collapsed at the stadium.

Poor first aid and the ensuing brain damage resulting from lack of oxygen to the brain meant there wasn't much the doctors at the hospital could do to help Lim once he was brought to the hospital. The former baseball player went onto spend the next decade in a vegetative state.


A Kyung Hee Medical Center employee prepares a wake for former Lotte Giants catcher Lim Soo-hyuk. [NEWSIS]

Lim's family sued the Lotte Giants and LG Twins in April of 2003 for 800 million won before eventually settling out of court for the sum of 330 million won.

Although emergency medical services was not readily available at KBO games until Lim's incident, medical personnel and ambulances have become a common sight at baseball games over the years.

The Korea University product was an offensive catcher who did not take long to adapt to the KBO game. In his rookie season, Lim batted .250 in 29 games but went onto earn the starting role in the following season. He would go onto hit .247 with 15 home runs. In 1996, he produced .311 with 11 home runs and 76 RBI. Lm boasted a career total of 345 hits, 47 home runs and 257 RBI with a .266 RBI during his seven year career.

By Jason Kim []
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