I may have to tell this story backwards because I forget lots of things now after the incident and this is my second or third time submitting this story to the podcast gang – I think. November I6, 2016 I am the coach of my son’s 11 year old tackle football team and during the game a feeling like my head weighed 1,000 lbs. came over me and I hit the ground face first. My wife of 22 years is at my side and my team is looking at me with panic in their eyes. I immediately started to vomit and my wife asked me “is this bad”? After 22 years of marriage I knew that was code for “can I panic now?” I was 43 years old, son of Marine, Marine veteran, 22 year POLICE SWAT/SNIPER and of all my training could not figure this out. I wanted to give my wife some sense that I would be ok but for the life of me could not figure out why my head was stuck to the football field. After a few days in ICU we learned that I had suffered multiple strokes in the left cerebellum caused by a blood clot, which came from a torn vertebral artery. We need to back up a few weeks to get to the tearing of the artery.
September that same year, my team was called out to a hostage situation. Target location was a run down trailer house with a wood pallet for a porch and open sewage lines caused a “slick” all around the structure. I was on the shield for this callout and it was on the back end of the event when I found myself on the “porch” covering the back of the room while my teammates put the suspect in custody. During handcuffing, the suspect struggled and ended up getting knocked off the porch. On the way down I realized my hand were full and I had nothing to brace myself. My rifle was slung in front of me and the muzzle hit the ground first – butt stroking my in the kisser – putting my bottom teeth where they shouldn’t be! After leaving the hospital with some stitches and a fat lip, I was totally unaware that the impact tore the left vertebral artery, like a time bomb that would eventually go off several weeks later.
Present day. The stroke left me with 80% permanent damage in the left cerebellum. I have several side effects that I live with but nothing that I cant overcome.
These stories have definitely motivated me and ignited motivation that wasn’t always there. I learned my never quit mindset throughout my life. Victim of childhood sexual abuse, loss of best friend to murder suicide, loss of father and best friend at young age, guilt, depression, loss of Marine buddies, Cop buddies. The simple combat of life that the guys talk about so much. But overcoming life’s challenges is part of the journey. A famous football coach told be once – Everyone struggles, it’s how we struggle that makes a difference. These stories and this show teaches us all how to struggle.