Southern Miss baseball team's key inspiration
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Miss's baseball team has been dominating on the diamond this year and one Golden Eagle player's story has helped fuel the team's motivation this year.
Southern Miss infielder, Michael Gilbert said, "We were just doing a conditioning exercise in the morning and me and a teammate were carrying a telephone pole, and it struck me in the head and caused the injury.”
“I had paralysis in my face and I had to get my left eye swollen shut, because I couldn't blink it or anything. Obviously the major head trauma. All of that combined together, I didn't even know honestly if I would live, said Gilbert."
After a few months, Gilbert showed great improvement and he was able to go back to school for the start of his last Spring semester.
Gilbert was cleared to play baseball again in April 2015, but Gilbert suffered another injury.
This time, he tore his ACL.
"I was doing a shuttle run this summer, just trying to rehab and getting back into shape and I planted to comeback the other direction and that's when it happened, said Gilbert."
Doctors told Gilbert that he may not be able to play this season.
Gilbert said "I didn't want to believe it at first after overcoming everything I just did. But you know I was like I'm a comeback."
Gilbert came back and played in the first scheduled series of the season against Eastern Illinois.
"It was pretty surreal. I'm not going to lie. It's something I definitely will remember for the rest of my life, said Gilbert."
Southern Miss head coach, Scott Berry said, "To see him back smiling, having fun, playing on the field, working out with his teammates, and his teammates interacting and engaging with him, you know that's everything."
The Golden Eagles are having tremendous success this year and Gilbert and his teammates feel like this season can be a special year to remember.
Gilbert said "this year we've handled our business. Obviously we're doing very well in conference. I think we're definitely a team to be reckoned with come postseason time.”
“I think a lot of our guys will say the same thing that we just play with this confidence about us that when we step on the field, like we're the team to beat, said Gilbert."
The only other challenge that both Gilbert and his teammates have left to conquer is to win a conference championship and to make it to Omaha.