Since my accident in December my life has changed in so many ways, some for the better and some for the worse. In the case of my son Grant I find it difficult to understand how this child that my wife and I have raised can be so lost in his own self-destruction. By now most people know that my son has battled drug addiction for sometime now and it hurts me to know that this has been going on for several years and I do not remember any of it. Joan has given me great details of how our son has grown up in competitive sports his whole life and we have been active in his sports ventures the entire time. Grant has played every sport from basketball, baseball, hockey, football and motocross. From the time he was little I have been told he excelled in every sport he had tried. Grant favored hockey when he was younger playing forward and goalie for the junior Coyotes in Phoenix and Scottsdale where he achieved many accolades and awards and traveled all over to play the game that he loved.
When Grant was in 6thgrade he was playing catch football at recess and took a blow to his temple resulting in a traumatic brain injury that required emergency brain surgery to stop the bleeding of an artery in his brain. I can only imagine how devastating this must have been to Grant going thruthis injury and not being able to play sports for the better part of 6 months. Joan has told me that once Grant started to heal and all of his friends were still playing sports he felt useless and that he did not have any identity because he could only identify himself as a hockey player and nothing else. Grant started becoming a dare devil taking risks that were not acceptable for the safety of himself. Joan explained to me that we asked him what he wanted to do that was dangerous but one that we could control with the proper safety equipment and structure to ensure his safety. Grant responded “I want to do motocross”. At this point we had bought him a used dirt bike and began his training to learn to race. According to Joan, Grant and I spent countless hours honing his skills to become a proficient rider to race at a level that was not going to get him hurt. Grant after many hours of practicing and training started to become a very good rider and over the years moved up to the different levels of talent and earning over 300 trophies in his career. At one point Grant finished 15 in the nation at Ponca Nationals in Oklahoma. BothJoan and Grant have told me that I had stopped going to Grant’s practices and races when he was 16 because we were not getting long at the track due to the fact that he did not want me coaching him anymore. This is the point in my son’s life that things began to change. He started experimenting withdrugs of all kinds from alcohol to marijuana and pills. According to Joan, he was very good at hiding it from everyone; even his friends did not know he was using drugs. Grant’s drug addiction steadily got worse with harder drugs and increased frequency. He has spent time in rehab, sober-living, detox and even a brief case of being homeless.
There are so many things that I wish I could remember of my past about my son so that I had the feeling that I have done everything I could in my power to of better guided him and to teach him so that he would be the man that he was proud to be. Grant is a very smart and charming man but yet he is so lost inside. I am having a hard time trying to reach deep inside of him and help him pull out the man that I know he wants to be but the demons inside of him sometimes pull him so far back that I know only he himself can make these demons go away. As I write this blog Grant has not spoken to me in several days due to an argument that we had on Sunday and I hope one day soon he will want to speak to me as his father. I was told by my cousin yesterday hat he felt that Grant has struggled with dealing with my successes in life. With me playing in college and the NFL and being a pilot and owner of a successful aviation company that he may feel that he could never live up to my standards. I can only tell you how hard those words spoken to me and about me from my cousin have hurt me deeply. As a father I have only wanted the best for my children and if I have in anyway shadowed my success and created expectations that he could not achieve, I must than apologize. I only wish I could have said something or done something, or hugged him one more time or said I loved you one more time to have changed the course of his life.
Grant and I share something that most fathers and sons do not and that is a traumatic brain injury. I too know what it feels like to be lost in this world and without an identity and to be scared. I want and need my Grant to be a part of our lives and to teach his sister the how a young man should act. As a father I know I love my son but only time will tell if my son will love himself enough to be the person he will grow to love, because I know he is struggling with that and I can only pray and show my love as a father.