Injuries are a concern in every college athlete’s life. Most do what they can to avoid them but injuries still happen.
For Eastern Michigan baseball shortstop Marquise Gill that nightmare became a reality last season when he broke his wrist and only saw action in four games.
Gill’s injury occurred as he slid into second base, head first, during a stolen base attempt. The second baseman jumped up for the ball and landed on Gill’s left wrist which still bares a scar.
“It was so frustrating,” Gill said. “I finally had gotten my chance [to start everyday] but then something like that happens.”
Gill had to watch from the dugout as his teammates competed but still provided as much help as he could to the team.
“I still traveled,” Gill said. “They looked at me as a vocal leader. I just tried to be the best teammate that I could.”
While Gill sat out, he mentored freshman shortstop David Lett who played his position for the season.
“Mostly, I just helped David,” Gill said. “Him being a true freshman, not having any college baseball experience, I feel like I helped him adjust to the college baseball pace. I feel like I helped him with confidence.”
Along with helping his team, he still had to rehab so he could bounce back for a strong 2016 season.
“While I had the cast on, I still ran with the team, still could do baserunning,” Gill said. “Once I got the cast off, I had to do numerous exercises to strengthen it. I was going in for treatment two or three times a day. I couldn’t bench press with the other guys.”
Gill worked with graduate assistant trainer Corey McDevitt, who he credited with his rehab along with trainer Bill Tuscany.
Gill knew there was no guarantee that he would return as a starter for the 2016 season but was determined to do what he could to keep the spot he had won the year earlier.
“When I got hurt, it was their first year here so I had no reputation with them, I played four games for them. They continued to tell me that they had other guys coming in. We expect you to be the guy to run the infield but we’re not banking on it.”
“They just told me to keep grinding and to not get comfortable because there’s always someone chomping on the bit to play Division One baseball,” Gill said.
He kept that mentality because nothing is guaranteed.
“In the back of my head, I always thought, if I was a coach and I had a guy get hurt like that, I’m probably going to recruit another guy at that position because I wasn’t sure if he was ready,” Gill said. “I would always think that he’s recruiting a guy that’s better than I am, so I need to work, and that was the driving motivation for me to get back to where I was.”
Gill was able to win the starting spot back and now, with the 2016 season underway, he has jumped right back into things starting all 15 games so far at shortstop batting .277.
So far this season, Gill has already impressed with an outstanding defensive play at short during the game against Arizona State.
“It feels really good,” Gill said. “When you do something like that, it’s a reminder of the hard work that you put in and it makes you want to work harder.”
Gill is reminded every day of not being able to play last year and it’s made him appreciate being able to play Division I baseball.
“I saw how it felt to not be able to play,” Gill said. “To have the opportunity, you really take advantage of it and appreciate it.”
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