Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Fish hurler con-cursed
After 9 concussions Bodishbaugh gave up football for baseball
Chris Bodishbaugh's dream started out on the gridiron, but moving it to the diamond may have saved his life.
It definitely saved his brain.
After nine concussions as a quarterback who made it as high as NCAA Division I, Bodishbaugh made the difficult decision to walk away from football six years ago. Fortunately for the Winnipeg Goldeyes' newest bullpen addition, he was good enough at baseball that he had another professional sports path to follow.
"It was nine diagnosed concussions, but I don't know how many exactly (in total) it was. Leaving football was something I had to do," said Bodishbaugh, 27, a righty who was acquired Aug. 15 from the Sioux City Explorers.
He is with the team in Gary tonight where the Fish will begin their final road trip of the American Association season with the first of a three-game series against the SouthShore RailCats.
Attending San Jose State University on a full football scholarship in 2003, Bodishbaugh said baseball wasn't really on his radar until he was 21 years old.
"Football was pretty much my only sport," said the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Bodishbaugh, who was drafted twice in the MLB draft: by the Florida Marlin in 2003 out of Freedom High School in Oakley, Calif., and again by the Marlins in 2005. "I played baseball in high school just for fun because I'd already signed a scholarship for San Jose State and that's what I intended on doing for the rest of my life. Play college football, and then I wanted to go play in the NFL."
He said "a couple knocks to the head" changed everything when went back to junior college in 2004 at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, Calif. He played both football and baseball but after at least two more football-incurred concussions and being drafted for the second time by the Marlins, he switched to baseball.
He was signed by the Marlins in 2007 after one season of baseball at California State University-Chico. After one season in the Marlins system, he found his way to independent baseball.
Bodishbaugh says concussion diagnosis has come a long way since he experienced his concussions.
"I don't know if at the time I ever missed any game action. There were times when maybe I shouldn't have played, but I went back out because I was stubborn," he said. "I feel very blessed that I was given that opportunity in baseball. In my mind, everything happens for a reason and baseball is the path that I was meant to take."
Bodishbaugh has spent the past four seasons in independent ball, including 2009-2010 with the Victoria Seals in the Golden Baseball League and the Calgary Vipers in the North American Baseball League. In those four indy seasons, he had a record of 11-9 with a 4.30 ERA.
Bodishbaugh and the Goldeyes (48-38) arrived in Gary having lost six of their last seven games, on a four-game losing skid and clinging to a two-game lead on the St. Paul Saints for the American Association's sole wild-card playoff berth.
Brought in to be the Goldeyes' closer, he is third in the league in saves with 18. He picked up his first save in a Goldeyes uniform in his first game on Aug. 15 in a 8-6 win over the RedHawks at Fargo, the last time the Goldeyes won.
"You're going to go through stretches like this," said Bodishbaugh.
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Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2012 C3
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