Philadelphia, PA - In this year’s 2017 Sugarhouse Casino Mummers Parade, the Bryson New Year’s Brigade will be wearing brains on their t-shirts.
It’s to raise awareness about a rare brain condition which has plagued a young St. Joe’s University baseball star named Joey Gorman who has persevered through two brain surgeries, a cyst in his spinal cord, and five other life threatening surgeries…all to get back on the baseball diamond.
Gorman was lifting weights his freshman year at St. Joe’s when he realized something was wrong.
"It was like I got electrocuted,” said Gorman. “I've never been struck by lightning, but if I were, I would think it would be close, and it just went straight down, and I just kind of froze a bit." Gorman was describing the moment his body went numb from complications of his condition, Chiari Malformation.
Gorman was originally diagnosed with the rare brain defect when he was 12, but up until this point, it never caused any problems.
Over the next three years, joey would undergo two life threatening brain surgeries, which ultimately caused nerve damage in his pitching arm.
Gorman told PHL17, “It just made me want to fight more.”
And joey is a fighter…he’s a survivor.
In high school at Neumann Goretti, he used to write “Losing is Not An Option” under the brim of his baseball cap.
That became his mantra and his motivation to get back on the field.
He needed five other surgeries to fix his elbow, shoulder and legs because of the nerve damage from the Chiari.
Gorman said “I just never really accepted that, ‘Ok, you're going to be done. You're not going to be able to play.’ I just always thought like I’m just going to prove that person wrong.”
Many of Joey’s friends and family in South Philly are part of the Bryson New Year’s Brigade, and he says it was their constant support and encouragement to get back on the field this past spring.
His first game back was when St. Joe’s played in the Liberty Bell Classic Championship.
Gorman said, “I got to first base and looked behind the dugout and saw all the fans there, and that's something I’ll never ever forget…they were all Mummers probably too!”
Their theme…“Losing is Not an Option.”