Rocco Baldelli's Mystery Illness Diagnosed as a Form of Muscular Dystrophy

For the past couple of years, Rocco Baldelli has been plagued with a series of leg problems that have seriously limited his playing time. This spring, he began feeling severely fatigued and doctors told him he had a mitochondrial disorder that likely contributed to his leg problems. Today, ABCNews in Tampa is reporting that doctors finally have a diagnosis for Baldelli: mitochondrial myopathy, a rare genetic disorder and a form of muscular dystrophy.

The good news for Baldelli is that while mitochondrial myopathy is incurable, his doctor seems to think he'll be able to keep playing. Baldelli himself seems to be taking it all in stride:

"Now that I know what it feels like to struggle with something like this, you kind of understand that people need support and they need help. I'm sure once I sit down this off season and start to deal with MDA more, I'll probably understand a lot more," Rocco said.

There's a video interview with Baldelli at the website of WFTS, the Tampa TV station that broke the story that expands on the quote from above. Impressively, all of the setbacks and tests haven't kept him off the field this year as he's been DHing for the Rays for the past month or so. So he's got a fatigue-causing genetic disorder, yet he's agreeing to work with the MDA in the off-season and helping the formerly hopeless Rays to their first playoff spot ever. If you can't find inspiration in Rocco Baldelli, I'm not sure you'll find it anywhere.

Tip o' the cap to SBB for finding this one.

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