Dellinger proves he is a Warrior at heart

September 08, 2005|by ANDREW MASON

Adam Dellinger isn't as fast or as strong or as skilled as he was last fall when he had four goals and seven assists for the highly successful Boonsboro boys soccer team.

The senior midfielder never even made it into the game Tuesday night when the Warriors opened their 2005 season with a 3-2 victory over St. Maria Goretti.

Dellinger might be half the player he used to be, but he's twice the person because of it - because he's still a player.

As valuable as inspiration is for a team, Dellinger might be Boonsboro's MVP this season. As valuable as the human life is, no team accomplishment this fall can rival Dellinger's personal achievement.


While we were all celebrating the holiday season last winter, Dellinger was unconscious in a hospital bed. A car accident in mid-December put him there.

"I made a left-hand turn ... and I got T-boned by an oil truck," Dellinger said. "It totaled the car, and I was in the hospital for a month and a half.

"I fractured the skull in the back of my head, and my whole right side became weak. I had a pretty severe brain injury."

Dellinger, who remained unconscious for nine days following the accident, also had a broken collarbone and small glass shards in his arms and shoulders. Before he left the hospital, he also had to overcome a staph infection and pneumonia.

Dellinger eventually returned to school, but he couldn't participate in his other two sports, basketball and baseball. He said he couldn't even start running again until mid-July.

That he's back on the soccer team is nothing short of remarkable.

"This is just something that I love, and I want to be a part of it, even if it means not playing," said Dellinger, who will have to wear protective headgear when he does play.

Boonsboro coach Brad Distad said Dellinger will play.

"I don't know when or where, but I'm going to get him into some games," Distad said. "He doesn't come out here and work his butt off to sit on the bench. I've never seen anyone work as hard as he has to prepare for the season. His heart and his passion is to come back from this."

Considering where he's been, just having a spot on the bench is fine with Dellinger.

"I'm not worried about playing," he said. "It's better for the team, I think, if I don't play, because I haven't gotten my skills or anything down yet. My right leg is not as weak as it was, but it's still weak. I can't kick hard or do drills fast or anything."

Just having a conversation can still be a struggle for him.

"There's nothing wrong with my memory or anything, no headaches or seizures or anything. But it's slowed me down some with my speech. It's a lot slower, and it's not as clear," Dellinger said. "But there's no permanent brain damage. The doctors said I should eventually be back to my full abilities.

"I'm just happy to be alive. An oil truck is a pretty big thing. I feel pretty lucky."

The Warriors feel lucky to have him on their team.

"To see him fight back is very inspiring. Everyone rallies around him," Distad said. "No matter how many victories we get this season, there's no bigger victory than Adam being out here."

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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