As long as he had a chance to throw again, then Coppin State junior pitcher Myles Taylor liked his odds of making a successful recovery from labrum surgery.
“I was told that there’s only a 50 percent chance that you can come back strong from that,” Taylor said. “Against those odds, some people quit. Others give up, but I love this game too much and I played it for too long to just throw it away that easily.”
Taylor had inspiration.
Taylor suffered the same type of SLAP (Superior Lesion Anterior to Posterior) tear in his labrum as Saints quarterback Drew Brees when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers. After Brees was traded, all he did was lead the Saints to a Super Bowl victory and throw for 5,476 yards in 2011, which was an NFL single season record until Peyton Manning threw for 5,477 yards in 2013.
So there was hope for Taylor.
Hanging up his cleats was never an option for the affable Taylor despite the long and painful hours of rehabilitation that included lots of quality time with the Biodex, every athlete worst nightmare.
It’s a machine that applies resistance to any joint, but it applies resistance based on how hard an athlete applies force. Basically, it fights as hard as the athlete fights- and it always wins.
Taylor never doubted he would be back on the hill, throwing strikes and making an impact for the Coppin State baseball team. Even though, the Eagles had higher aspirations as a team when the season started, Taylor is already a winner because of his indomitable spirit, pleasant personality, perseverance, which helped him triumph over adversity.
“After the surgery, my arm was killing me and it was in sling,” Taylor said. “I was in lots of pain. I kept praying that I could come back and keep playing baseball the way I wanted to. I don’t think I picked up a baseball until about five or six months after surgery. There were lots of long and stressful days. I had to believe in the process, stay patient and always be ready. ”
In addition to Bellamy’s dedication in helping Taylor get stronger and regain his groove, Taylor also gave credit to his physical therapist in his hometown of Erial, New Jersey for getting him back on the mound as well.
“Rehab is about finding things that you are not good at and challenging you there,” Bellamy said. “You have to make progress in areas where your function and performance are lacking. Coming in to do that each and every day can be discouraging, but Myles made it through. Getting back to throwing after a substantial injury to his throwing shoulder takes a great deal of mental toughness and patience. No one could have predicted his performance this season. That comes from his own work and dedication. He is also very aware of his body and how he’s feeling, and he pays attention to that.”
Sunday afternoon in the series finale against first-place Norfolk State, Taylor was at his best. He threw 3.1 scoreless innings and allowed one baserunner. He befuddled the Spartans with an assortment of fastballs and change-ups. In four April appearances, Taylor has been dominant. He has compiled a 0.77 earned run average in 11.2 innings pitched.
“It’s a blessing to be back,” Taylor said. “I am still getting back into the mix of things. I’m still not 100 percent but I always go out there and try to compete hard every time my name is called. I felt pretty good and I was able to keep the hitters off-balanced. I got the good end of the stick (against Norfolk). It’s all glory to God. I just want to keep moving forward.”
While sitting out last season was rough on Taylor, he never allowed that to get him down. Taylor is probably the most faithful student-athlete as he’s one of the leaders of the “Turn-Up Squad”, the Eagles’ energetic student body, mostly comprised of athletes that attend every home sporting event, regardless of sport.
Taylor’s smile never disappeared while he patiently waited to overcome the odds. A huge Phillies fan, his ultimate goal is to become a college baseball head coach.
“Coppin State means a lot to me,” Taylor said. “College is what you make it. I came here and wanted to make friends. I made a lifetime of friends here and was blessed to play Division I baseball. I love Coppin State for everything it’s done for me. It’s prepared for me for life and I am ready to take the next step in my journey. I love my teammates. They’ve been through the grind with me and I’ll do anything for them.”