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I can’t believe it’s already been over a year since my book Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away with New York Times Best Selling author Mark Tabb was published. I remember discussing with Mark what the purpose of this book was really about. Was this going to be a story specifically about concussions and what’s wrong with the game? My answer to that question was quickly “No” because of my deep passion for football and all of the blessings that my family and I have received from it. So what was it then? My answer was “Life”.
I want to tell a vulnerable story about many of the deep intrinsic values and lessons I learned throughout my personal and athletic career. Many which came at the hands of very challenging injuries, including concussions. As we started writing, my wife and I realized that since my senior year in High School I only had one injury-free season out of the 12 years that followed. Whether it was the multiple rib fractures, vertebrae fractures, broken hands, foot, and ankle, or the torn AC shoulder joint, torn plantar fascia, hip fracture, knee hyperextensions, high ankle sprains, or my bi-lateral sports hernia, or lastly multiple concussions leading to my retirement. Every single one of these injuries were connected to a life lesson and perspective that would either mold and refine me into a man of integrity and character or they would break my character and send me down a path of potential destruction.
I believe that because of the culture I was raised in, I was able to see the hidden truth within the trials. My dad always told me that the hardest metals are forged out of the hottest fires, and that “suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame”. Even writing that quote gets me inspired. Out of that belief system I discovered what my story is really about, “Hope”. We all go through trials and significant testing in our lives, in fact, we are living in a time where “suffering” and “perseverance” seem to be everyday news captions, but it’s our response to those obstacles that wins the day.
The title Counting The Days While My Mind Slips Away hits hard at one of my greatest fears. It is also the first line in the song I wrote to my wife and 4 daughters “You Will Always Be My Girls”. While it is ominous in appearance, it is vast in its vulnerability. The book is so much more than its title; it is a story about family, faith, friends, and football. All the good and some of the bad rolled into one intense picture of “Hope”.
If you’re someone that’s been knocked down or concussed by life, I want you to know that you’re not alone. Trust that when you respond with perseverance you will discover life gifts that you never expected to receive.
Lastly, my book has a miraculous ending that I won’t completely give away. I will tell you that when we started writing the book it was very difficult for me to focus and remember because of my cognitive disabilities. Little did we know that the intense cognitive training program that I began at the beginning of writing this book would lead to remarkable healing and restoration resulting in the climactic ending to my story.
Thank you to all my friends and family for your tremendous love and support!