After making his first public appearance at Fenway Park, now David Ortiz is finally opening up about his recovery after being shot in the Dominican Republic.
“I almost died, man,” the 43-year-old said while tearing up, during his first interview since the incident with Univision, a CNN affiliate. The former Boston Red Sox player, also known as “Big Papi” by fans, talked about the difficult events of that night, plus the complications he has faced since then.
Ortiz was shot in the back on June 9th while at a bar in his hometown of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. During his interview, he described feeling like he was having a nightmare.
And after the initial sting of the bullet, Ortiz shifted to something else: “I was feeling something that I had never felt before and that was just the feeling of trying to survive.”
But thanks to a man named Eliezer Salvador, whom Ortiz says he is very thankful for, Ortiz survived the nightmare. Salvador was sitting near Ortiz when the shooting occurred, and Salvador rushed Ortiz to the hospital in his Rolls Royce, one of the safest SUVs.
Luckily for Ortiz, the shooting was not fatal, and the bullet went through his lower back and perforated his intestines and lower organs. After being rushed to the hospital, he left intensive care on June 22nd and then was able to return home in late July. He has been recovering at home with his family since then.
Ortiz also addressed rumors surrounding the incident, saying, “I don’t have enemies. I don’t know why anyone would want to do this to me.” He says that he was not involved in any shady dealings that could have caused such an attack.
For his first public appearance since the shooting, “Big Papi” stepped out at Fenway Park to throw the first pitch at the Red Sox’s game against the New York Yankees.
He told the crowd how thankful he was to have gotten a second chance at life, and also thanked the Red Sox, “my real family. They always have been there for me, supporting me… They were the first ones there supporting me.”
Ortiz then watched the game from a first-row seat next to the Red Sox’s dugout and gifted his number 34 home jersey to a young child seated a few rows behind him during the first inning.