My name is Collin Stoecker and I am a senior on the University of Notre Dame Baseball Team. During my freshman fall, I began to feel a constant discomfort in my throwing shoulder every time I took the mound to pitch. During the final game of our fall season I could not get the ball from the mound to the catcher. After taking seven months of rest nothing changed in my shoulder so I was forced to have surgery in which the doctors found my rotator cuff in pieces. I was then in a sling for the entire summer with the hopes of returning to play the next season. After this pain returned, my shoulder was looked at again and the same issues were there. The hardest part of this injury was that there was not anything visible on my body that was different from how I was in high school. I looked exactly the same and yet I had lost the ability to throw a baseball. Two years of rehab and I was unable to fix the problem. Being seperated from my teammates while they traveled was hard as I stayed in South Bend and continued to rehab while my best friends were on the road traveling. This past Christmas I had my final shoulder surgery which has allowed me to remove any pain I was having in everyday life but ended my career for good.
My teammates, family, coaches and friends are the best support system I could have ever asked for. Through this two year long process of seeing my baseball career slowly slip through my hands they were there at every step to keep me as included and part of the team as possible. I will never be able to thank them enough for the support and guidance I received during this tough time in my life. They lead me to find a calling in serving other people, especially my kindergarten friends from Perley Elementary.
My scars are three tiny marks on my shoulder from the two procedures on my rotator cuff. While they aren’t big, they are my small reminder of all of the pain and hard times I went through. Anytime I look at them I find a sense of pride of where I have taken my journey since. Today, being in charge of community service for the baseball team is something I am extremely proud of. Getting to still use my platform as a college athlete to give back to the community is something I find really special and encourage anybody who has the chance to give back to their community to take the opportunity and do so. My scars and my shoulder injury didn’t define me but rather led me to a position to make an impact in other people’s lives.