A star lacrosse player in New Jersey has recovered from a traumatic brain injury to thrive in the sport he loves.
Two years ago, Shawnee (Medford, N.J.) lacrosse standout Mike Shinske suffered a life-threatening brain injury when he fell during a pickup basketball game. According to Philadelphia’s WPVI-TV, Shinske fractured his skull in two spots and blood built up between his outer membrane and skull. He could have died from the injuries.
“Smashed my head and woke up about five in the morning in Virtua and was just confused, just throwing up, just not myself, and was rushed to Cooper Hospital,” Shinske told WPVI. “I was in the ICU for about two weeks until they did my surgery.
After emergency surgery, doctors told Shinske he would never play again.
Shinske wasn’t ready for such a dire prognosis.
“I was devastated,” he told WPVI. “My parents know I’ve been playing sports since I was five. Taking that hit from the doctors was just out of nowhere. I knew I wasn’t going to settle for that.”
As evidenced by the fact that he is currently playing for the Shawnee lacrosse team, having amassed 43 points through May 16, Shinske did not take the news lying down.
Per WPVI, his year of vigorous rehab included vision, coordination, and strength therapy, with doctors finally clearing him to return to helmeted sports last spring. Shinske scored two goals in his first game back.
Even further, in the fall, he played quarterback for the Shawnee football team.
In the fall, Shinske is headed to Penn State next year to play lacrosse for the Nittany Lions. Talk about a recovery.
“It’s been an unbelievable journey, no doubt about it,” Shinske’s father, Jim, told WPVI. “He has had exceptional medical care.”
“I can tell you, I was in a dark place for a long time so coming out here with my teammates, it’s definitely great inspiration,” Shinske said.
It’s been an amazing recovery, one that may have been hard to imagine two years ago.