MILWAUKEE — Major League Baseball released a statement today saying that it had completed a review regarding the passing of Nationals Dominican prospect Yewri Guillen, an 18-year-old shortstop who died in April after contracting what was thought to be bacterial meningitis. MLB’s review determined that the cause of death was in fact not bacterial meningitis, as originally diagnosed, but an infection in the brain that was the result of an aggressive sinus infection.
The review also concluded that the Nationals “took the proper steps to insure that Guillen’s medical care was handled appropriately and that the proper protocols were followed to prevent the spread of meningitis when that infection was suspected as the cause of Guillen’s illness.”
“Following Mr. Guillen’s passing, the Medical Advisory Committee met and recommended that all Dominican Republic Academy personnel, including players and clubhouse staff, be offered a meningitis vaccination, even though it was determined that meningitis did not cause Guillen’s illness,” the release said. “As a result, all players and club personnel that stay overnight at all Club Academies in the Dominican Republic have had a meningitis vaccination administered to them.”
The vaccination is one that is required by many colleges and universities in the U.S. before students enroll for their freshman year.
“After consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, our committee determined that is in the best interest of all players and staff to institute a vaccination program for meningitis at all of the MLB Club Academies across the Dominican Republic,” said MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green in the release. “The health and safety of all personnel is a top priority for Major League Baseball and although meningitis was not the cause in this case, we believe that a vaccination program may prevent future cases of this illness.”
“I would like to thank the Dominican Republic Ministry of Healthy for providing all of the vaccinations,” said Jorge Perez-Diaz, MLB director of Latin American operations. “The government officials in the Dominican Republic could not have been more responsive in working with us to help reduce the risk of meningitis in baseball players in the Dominican Republic.”
Guillen’s passing was a shock to the Nationals organization