My Story (I’ll do my best to keep it short)
I had a mindset growing up that is the same mindset of millions of kids out there today. I came from a family that just about everybody played sports. Watching my brother, my cousins, hearing stories of my dad or uncles and aunts I was obsessed with sports growing up. Although I was viewed as a good athlete by a lot of people growing up, there was something that always nagged me big time regardless of how good I thought I was. Nobody ever mentioned my name and Division 1 in the same sentence. Being a huge Spartan fan and watching Division 1 sports on TV my whole life, that was my goal. I was always small, skinny, and wasn’t necessarily blessed with the physical attributes where you look at a kid and say he has Division 1 written all over him.
I worked on my sports game relentlessly for as long as I can remember. I was hitting off tees, dribbling in my basement, shooting baskets in my barn, lifting weights (with whatever knowledge I could pull of the internet) . Regardless of how hard I tried, I never got any college interest, let alone anything Division 1. Towards the end of my senior year I had two offers, Basketball at Henry Ford Community College, or Baseball at Mott Community College. As you guys know you can only play two years in Community College. I chose Baseball because I had a friend on the team and made a commitment that I am going to do whatever it takes to get recruited to play Division 1 out of Mott. I became obsessed with lifting and purely focused on baseball for the next two years to become a bigger, stronger, faster athlete with good stats. Over the next two years I got interest from Davenport University, Wayne State, Tiffin, Ashland, and the list goes on. Not a single Division 1.
I decided to reach out to Eastern Michigan because from what I understood they had a good Exercise Science Program. I made contact with the coaches, they watched me in the summer, and said come to our tryouts. I bypassed all my offers at other schools to take a chance at tryouts. I think I performed well and the coaches wanted me to come to their office the next day. I was beyond pumped! Meeting didn’t go well.
I was in Graphic Design at Mott and after switching to Exercise Science when I got to Eastern, I virtually had very little credits transfer. I couldn’t be on the team even if they wanted me. What they did tell me is work your ass off over the next year, we need you to be a bit faster, throw a bit harder, and we will watch you next summer. My mindset was I am going to become an animal. They want to see me run faster, throw harder, be a more impressive athlete overall, just watch what I look like next summer. SORRY THIS IS A LONG STORY, but it is all relevant.
I didn’t know how to become faster, more explosive, etc. My dad didn’t know, my brother didn’t know, so I had internet. My plan, I am going to lift every day and work on baseball every single day. Nobody on that Eastern team already is going to put in more work than me. I COULD HAVE ALWAYS USED SOMETHING LIKE AFS, BUT THIS IS WHERE I ABSOLUTELY NEEDED IT. Long story short, I busted my ass for months. I would lift, flip tires, swing sledgehammers, do parachute sprints, and never really took days off ever.
The next summer Eastern came to a bunch of my summer games. I played good in front of them and got a phone call one night. It was Andrew Maki, Eastern’s recuriting coordinator, he said we would love you to join the team. I signed the next week! I was unbelievably happy, I had reached my goal that I have been shooting for since I was in Elementary School. A week later I had a practice with my summer team and I was all sorts of juiced up. I was swinging out of my shoes, I was throwing every ball as hard as I could, I was sprinting as fast as I could with everything, in practice. Then it happened. I threw a ball in from the outfield and my elbow popped, my hand goes numb, my elbow is on fire. Told the coach, he told me to take the rest of practice off, and when I got home I down played the pain big time to my parents. If they knew the pain I was in, they would have had me go to the doctor to get it checked out. I just reached my goal, the last thing on earth I would do is go to a doctor and have them show my parents I have a significant injury, and essentially be done.
Got to Eastern, didn’t tell the coaches about my elbow. Took a lot of Ibuprofen before every practice and basically said fuck it and just kept playing. Eastern plays long toss to build arm strength at the beginning of every practice. I’ve played through pain before, this was a different level. No matter how much it hurt I would not tell the coaches, and I would not tell my parents how much pain I was actually in. Going by where the pain was, everything I looked at online told me I had bad Golfer’s elbow. About a month into fall ball my hand started going numb. I could barely feel the ball in my fingers. Finally told the coach, went home and told my parents how bad it is. Went to the doctor the next day for X-Rays. You can see in the attached picture what happened. When I threw that ball in from the outfield, my tricep ripped my olecranon off. Needles to say, my parents were like “Tyler, what the F”.
I played two years at Mott, had to sit out for a year because of not enough credits, and now had this injury that going to take at least this season and maybe next fall to get better. My eligibility was over because essentially Eastern isn’t going to plan on possibly playing a 5th year senior who they have never had play over new recruits that they will have for years. Baseball career over. The doctor said he knows this was due to overtraining. Reason being, around my elbow I had many micro-fractures and he is sure I had micro-fractures in other areas. Typically happens when you over train and don’t allow your body to recover. I didn’t know, had no knowledge on the importance of rest, how to lift while playing your sports, etc.
Moral of the Story
There are countless athletes out there just like me that will do anything to become better athletes. Don’t know how to do it effectively and safely. That is where AFS comes in. We can help you become stronger, jump higher, run faster, be more explosive in a safe way that doesn’t lead to injuries that set your career back, or even end your career.