In order to get the best out of your abilities as a player, the game of baseball requires a proper mindset.
It is not easy to play the game, and if you are not concentrating and totally focused, you are only cheating yourself and your teammates.
Players learn to maintain concentration in different ways and they sometimes use motivational factors to get the job done.
In the case of 20-year-old, left-handed pitcher, Logan Allen, a lot of that motivation comes from his 30-year-old brother, who is confined to a wheel chair and can no longer enjoy watching or hearing his brother play the game of baseball.
When Philip Allen was two years old he complained to his father that he had a headache. He was taken to the hospital, where doctors told the Allen family that he had problems with the capillaries of his brain. That put the young boy into a coma for about 14 months, and left him in a state that’s best described as severe cerebral palsy. Philip can’t walk or talk, and he can only see very little out of the corners of his eyes. Initially, the Allen family was told Philip would not survive. They were told he would never live out of hospital care. All of this happened well before Logan was born, and his big brother has been fighting ever since. You see, Philip Allen is a fighter. He has an uphill battle everyday of his life, and that is something that Logan Allen realizes and treasures dearly.
Logan will never take life for granted and he will always strive to be the best he can be. He is doing this not only for himself, but for the love of his older brother whom he holds so close to his heart. Pitching a professional baseball game and dealing with the adversity within the game is minuscule to real-life problems and difficulties people have to deal with. That type of mindset will carry this young man far in the game. Nothing will rattle him, nor should it. It is, however, a game.
I caught up with Logan as he was getting back home to North Carolina for the holidays. He hadn’t been home in a while and was very eager to see his big brother. When Logan first returned home, it was truly a joyous time. We spoke about when he first got home and what that is like for him and Philip. “My mom and dad will always hype it up to Philip when I am coming home. He doesn’t know how long I am gone. He does know when you are leaving though, and it is always hard for me to say goodbye. When I came home and he heard my voice, it was special. Seeing his head whip around to look at the door when he heard me call his name. He was grinning from ear to ear and stomping his feet. It’s like that every time I walk in the door and it gives me chills just thinking about it.” Though they are apart quite frequently, Logan and Philip have a special bond that is hard to describe.
I asked Logan his earliest memories of his brother. His response was “Oh man, my earliest memories of Philip are back when my parents by themselves could take care of him. My mom was a nurse, so that helped. I can remember going to New York City when I was like five or six and sitting on his lap (on his wheelchair) while we went through the city. His condition wasn’t as bad at that point. ” These are fond early memories of his big brother. Memories of a better time for the family.
About eight years ago, Philip’s lung collapsed and he was air-lifted to Duke University. He was issued a pacemaker and now needs the assistance of a Tracheostomy Tube. Needless to say, his condition is more fragile now than it was before. That was almost a decade ago, and the resilient man still keeps fighting on. Logan told me how he was away pitching in tournaments at the time, and that was the only thing that the teenager could do to keep his mind off of the situation at home.
Times like this mold who you are as a human being. The 20-year-old is remarkably wise beyond his years. He has a maturity about him that translates on the mound, as he shows excellent composure toeing the rubber. It really comes as no surprise. His battles at home and with real life make playing the game much easier.
Being a fighter is something that runs deep in the Allen family. Logan’s mother has been battling constant health problems, but yet she is still there for her son. “My mom had another bout with cancer last year when I was in season. She had some complications from chemo and radiation, and wound up losing feeling in her right arm. She had surgery and wound up developing a hematoma and an infection in her throat. She was put into a medically-induced coma. She is doing much better. She lost a lot of her memory, but is doing much better. She is healthy and has a long way to go in her recovery process. But she is cancer-free and that part of it is good.” Before all this, Mrs. Logan blew out four disks in her back moving Philip. She had multiple surgeries to repair her back and even had to deal with being partially paralyzed at one point from a botched surgery. The woman has been through so much in her life and it’s obvious who the rock is in this family.
Philip requires 24-hour care, and that is simply something the family cannot do by themselves at this point. The Allen’s have 24-hour nurses who care for Philip and monitor his condition. The family still has him in their house, so they have constant contact with him. This family interaction is what truly keeps Philip going. Logan told me a little more about his brother and their schedule with his care.
“Philip is on oxygen all the time. He has a walker that we put him in, and we walk him every night at nine o’clock. He just loves it. He loves being up and around. He loves hearing our voices. The boy never stops smiling. He loves baseball and loves listening to baseball and watching it on TV. He loves life. Seeing him helps with life lessons and being spoiled and knowing what is important in life. Especially when it comes to family.”
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