Wisconsin Baseball Player Paul Mallas Writes In To The Project

mallascomboGood morning Knockout Project,

I have been following the organization for about the last year and a half since I discovered it on Facebook.

As a person who has suffered multiple concussions throughout my life of 37 years, I want to say thank you. I’ve always been an active person. Like many, I played football and baseball through high school and college baseball as well.

As we all know as an athlete or an active person, we all suffer bumps and bruises. In the past, I always heard the phrase, “Are you hurt or injured?”- which is Coach’s speak for “can you suck it up and play or not?” I never thought much of these words until my last concussion on July 14th, 2013. It was a typical summer Sunday morning baseball game in a competitive, local, adult league. I singled and a few pitches later, found myself caught in a run-down. Usually, “Pickle!” from the movie Sandlot would fill my memories of getting caught in run downs.

However, this one ended with a head first slide into 2nd base, catching the short-stop’s knee in my face.

Being woken up with my head face down on 2nd base by the umpire should have been my cue to exit the game. But, was I hurt or injured? I had no idea. I tried to shake the cobwebs like all those times in the past that one “just gets their bell rung”.

The very next pitch I was picked off 2nd base because I had about a 20-foot lead and had no clue the game was already continuing. Being that this occurred in the first inning of a 9-inning game, I continued on and still thought little other than that the cobwebs would shake out at some point.

The cobwebs still continue.

My memory, focus, and daily awareness are not what they were prior to that injury. These challenges seem minimal to many outsiders as they can’t necessarily see your injury that still lingers. That can make a person really feel alone in their battle leading to anxiety and depression. These are all things I’ve encountered post-concussion. Still, I want to pass on the message that no one is alone and that things do get better. I’m very fortunate to have an amazing family and wife who have seen me through and picked me up when I have had a difficult time in doing so.

Yes, the headaches may come and go. Memory and focus might not ever be as sharp as it used to, but we Never Quit. These deficiencies are off-set by the sharpening of other skills and the pride to overcome challenges. Thank you Knockout Project for the work you do. Just reading the stories that people have shared helped me not feel alone when I didn’t think anyone could understand what I was going through,  as well as the awareness you shed on concussions. For that I am thankful!

Win the battle,

Paul W Mallas

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