Collin Walsh, 32, of North Haven, thought that legacy would lead to a dark road when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but he made a comeback Saturday night.
Doctors told him he would never be able to walk again but he knew that was not true. While he is now restricted to a wheelchair, his passion for running has not changed.
Former and current athletes reunited at the Moore Field House for the Annual James Barber/Wilton Wright Alumni Track and Field meet. Many of them practice their pole vault and shot put, but Walsh was not able to.
“They said ‘you wouldn’t walk again,’” said Walsh.
He had it all – he was captain of the track and cross-country teams at SCSU, went on to law school, became a police officer for two and a half years in Milford and had dreams of becoming a special agent.
“I’ve always been able to push myself quite a bit, but I also like the support of a team,” said Walsh.
His plans quickly shattered the night he experienced extreme pain.
“I had a horrible, horrible back spasm. It was like pain I could never imagine,” said Walsh.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, he was paralyzed from his chest down and thought he was going to die.
Even though doctors told him he would never be able to walk again, his wife thought otherwise.
“I absolutely knew that he was going to walk and run again,” said Amika Gohsa.
His wife was right and Walsh knew the doctors were wrong. Along with the alumni, he stood by the starting line and he walked step by step with his elbow-supporting walking sticks, with his wife by his side.
The athletes circled around him and cheered him on and walked alongside him until he reached the finish line.
Walsh said his message for those who also have multiple sclerosis is to never give up and keep trying until the impossible is accomplished.
“If someone tells you impossible, just laugh at them,” said Walsh.
Walsh also wanted to send a special thank you to the instructor at Cheshire Pilates Studio, Nadine Phillips, who helped him with his recovery at no charge.