SALEM, Mass. — Colton Fontaine is spending the start of spring in the hospital and not on the baseball field.
“I was just so excited to get back out there after everything that happened last year, and then there’s another setback,” he said.
The 25-year-old Newburyport native is an assistant baseball coach at his alma mater, Salem State University. But last month Fontaine was sidelined after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease called aplastic anemia after he noticed bruises all over his body.
The condition occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells. Fewer than 1,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with the disease each year.
Fontaine is now being treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
“You usually get [it] really young or really old. That’s why me at 25 and everything else being healthy and never having any health issues, it’s pretty remarkable to them where this can even fall into this category,” he said.
Fontaine was a three-sport standout at Newburyport High School and then starred for the Salem State baseball team where he led the Vikings to three conference titles.
“In life, few people can say that nobody’s ever said anything negative about them; he’s one of those guys. I honestly mean that, I’ve never heard anybody say anything negative or derogatory about Colton. He’s easy-going, a hard worker and well-liked,” said Al Donovan, the Salem State head baseball coach.
Fontaine just started immunotherapy treatment this week and is undergoing blood transfusions nearly every other day. He expects to spend another month in the hospital. If the immunotherapy doesn’t work, Fontaine will likely need a bone marrow transplant.