We are very excited to announce the endorsement of former Major League Baseball player Ben Petrick to our Dads Behaving Dadly Project!
Ben was a rising star catcher for the Colorado Rockies organization when he started noticing tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement on his left side. After the start of his first full season in the Majors, doctors revealed he had early onset Parkinson’s disease. At 23.
“In an instant, the body which had been my greatest asset, became my greatest liability,” he writes in his book Forty Thousand to One.
He continued to play ball for 3 years with medication and pure grit, but the progression of the disease finally forced him to retire in 2004.
“I only wished for two things in life: to be a pro ball player and to be a father,” he wrote in his book co-written by Scott Brown. “Parkinson’s took one of those. I wasn’t going to let it have both.”
He became a father in 2007 and stayed home with their first baby when his wife went back to work but his condition made it difficult for him to care for her. In 2009 he decided to undergo a risky surgery that could give him enough mobility to be the father he wanted to be. It didn’t work and he thought about giving up. His father, also suffering from Parkinson’s, reminded him that his daughter needed him no matter what he was capable of doing. Ben decided to keep fighting.
A year later, he went through the surgery again and this time it was successful. “I couldn’t wait for the day when (the surgery) worked that I could get up and take care of my little girl,” he said tearily during his interview with ESPN’s E:60 show that aired recently. That day finally came and is the story he shares in our book Dads Behaving Dadly.
Ben’s passion to be the best father he can be is the very soul of our mission. We are humbled by his endorsement and participation in our project. His inspirational story will help rebrand the image of fatherhood.