Thursday, September 28, 2017

Major league baseball player talks about helping his older brother through PTSD

DC: “You bring up your older brother, Logan, your best friend, who you shared an extremely difficult time with 13 years ago. A U.S. Army veteran who served in Baghdad as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, he came back to the U.S. suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the same time you were dealing with career-threatening, left shoulder surgery as a minor leaguer. What do you remember most about that time and the deep depression that the two of you faced together?”

JJH: “Yeah, 2004 was my Triple-A year and it was kind of, for me, maybe the year I was gonna get called up to the big leagues, and I felt like I was going to have this opportunity that I’d been dreaming of my whole life. And then I blew out my shoulder about 30 games into the season, ended up having season-ending surgery. It was a bad surgery. It was one of those that you don’t know if you’re gonna come back from it. Since I’ve been playing, there have been a few athletes that have had that same (full labrum tear) injury, and it’s basically ended their careers. Luke Scott had it. Richie Sexson, Scott Rolen, all these guys toward the end of their careers had the same type of thing and never really bounced back. For me to be thinking that I might have missed my opportunity to make it to the big leagues, I went into a pretty sad state of mind.

“At that same time, my brother was coming home from Iraq and was having a lot more problems than I was. But I was too blind and selfish to even realize anything but what was going on with me. We lived together for a couple months in Tempe; didn’t talk. Basically, sat in the house, had all the blinds closed. It was like a cave. We didn’t talk. We literally would sit there on the couch, looking at a TV that was not turned on and go about our days like that. And then one day, I think I might have said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna sit out in the hot tub. You want to come out? And he said, ‘Sure.’ So, we sat out in the hot tub and I remember the first … I still get …”

DC: At this point, Hardy stopped the interview for about a minute, sat in silence in the dugout with his hands cupped in front of his face, pushing away tears and trying to collect himself.