(CBS) Life after trauma was the topic of a special reunion Saturday at Loyola Medical Center.

It involved a man well-known by White Sox fans and a handful of doctors and physical therapists. CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross has more on a ballplayer’s career that nearly ended before it began.

Back in 1968, Carlos May began his career in Major League Baseball while serving this country. Shortly after, while he was in the Marine Reserves, he was cleaning a weapon and it went off.

“I got powder burns and stuff and I didn’t really know what happened,” May said. “I didn’t feel anything, and I looked down at my hand and all I could see was the inside of my hand.”

In a Loyola University Health System cafeteria, people who also suffered life-altering injuries and survivors of all kinds of trauma listened to May.

He lost his thumb in that accident, an event leaving its mark on his career and even his baseball cards. But like many in the room, he has persevered and adapted — for instance, signing baseballs using his index and middle finger.

It was the kind of injury threatening to bench any baseball career, but the slugger modified his batting form, allowing his time in the big leagues to span about a decade.

“I had to choke up, I had to change my whole swing actually I had to shorten my swing made and it turned out pretty good,” May said. “It made me a better hitter.”

While not many can share in the experience of playing for the White Sox, most people who were in attendance have the shared experience of extensive physical therapy and the will to get back what violence or an accident has taken.

Each year survivors with some of the most severe traumas meet for this event. May added that wouldn’t be possible without the care of doctors and physical therapists.

The year after May recovered from his accident, he led the White Sox in triples and stolen bases.