Jimmy DeAngelo comes to grips with potential career-ending injury – Shaw Local

Baseball has taken Jimmy DeAngelo to the peaks of a high school state championship.

And it also has taken him to the valleys of a devastating potential career-ending injury.

It was on Nov. 19, 2021, when DeAngelo, a hero of the 2018 Hall Red Devils’ state championship team, was running a “Throw Down” drill with the Southwestern Illinois College baseball team.

He made his throw into the net, took two steps to start running and felt a pop in his leg.

He knew it was bad and he knew what it was – a torn Achilles tendon.

“That was the worst pain I’ve ever felt. I knew right away I tore my Achilles, ”he said. “You hear guys all the time in the NBA that have torn theirs and said it feels like someone kicked them in the back of their leg. And it felt like that. I turned around and no one was there. Those were the first words out of my mouth, ‘I just tore my Achilles.’ ”

Knowing he was going to miss his sophomore season at SWIC and maybe end his career, was tough to take.

“I knew my season was over right there,” he said. “Coming off a decent year last year, first full year. Felt like I put in a lot of work in the summer and fall to get better. And a week or two before we go home for Christmas you know your season’s officially over right there. Yeah, it really hurt. ”

DeAngelo has come to grips with happened.

“I feel like there’s a reason for everything,” he said. “It’s just another battle of the journey. I can not be mad I tore it. There’s nothing I could do to prevent it that day. Woke up that day. Felt good. Felt probably the best I’ve felt going into a throwing session in a long time. Freak accident happened that day. Can’t be mad. ”

If he has indeed thrown his last pitch, he says, “I’ll be OK, (but) it’s going to hurt.

“Kind of could not go out on my own terms. An injury ended me. That’s how life works. Can’t be mad. Plan for everything. There’s a reason why that happened that day. I believe It’s going to be helpful in the future for stuff. “

Baseball has proven to be both rewarding while teaching him life’s many lessons.

“There’s peaks and valleys through everyone’s journey. There was the peak that year (state championship) and right now I’m in the valley, ”he said. “Just got to keep going. Stay on the road. Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. Just got to stay even. ”

DeAngelo is back on campus in Belleville this spring completing his classes, hanging out with his friends and watching the Blue Storm baseball team, which includes fellow Hall pitching products Trez Rybarczyk and Alec Bulak.

Those games are hard on him to watch, because you’re “Seeing people do what you love to do and you can not do anything to help the outcome, and you have to just sit and watch.”

He said his future plans are up in the air and likely won’t include baseball because of the timing of his recovery that should take through the end of the summer.

“As of right now, I plan on just continuing school without baseball,” said DeAngelo, who is studying business marketing. “By the time I could start playing baseball would be like the end of July, first week of August, and I basically would miss all summer baseball and wouldn’t have the opportunity to throw in front of anyone.”

Rehab has been tough, and DeAngelo said, “I’m not sure I want to continue going through the mental and physical draining experience.”

But he is saying there’s a chance for baseball.

“If I get ahead of schedule, maybe, stuff (rehab) looks different. If I could play by the beginning of July, maybe I’d try that, ”he said. “But as of right now, I have no intentions of coming back.”

The one thing the injury can not take away from him is memories of the 2018 state championship game in Peoria. DeAngelo was the starting and winning pitcher of Hall’s 4-1 victory over Teutopolis in the state finals, scattering six hits over five innings.

It was an indeed a dream come true.

“That’s one of the great experiences of my life baseball-wise. To win a state championship with my best friends. It was awesome, ”he said.

Kevin Hieronymus has been the BCR Sports Editor since 1986. Contact him at khieronymus@bcrnews.com

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