Saturday Stories Vol. 4: Keaton Chase and a Constant Uphill War
My name is Keaton Chase, a current starting pitcher for San Jose State going through a full Tommy John reconstruction rehab. Weight lifting and training Athletically during this time has made me a better man and allowed me to see the big picture of obtaining my goals with more clarity. Furthermore, having to rebuild myself again has given me better insight not only to baseball but how to enjoy my life.
I’ll start my story off in 2021, the pandemic was still lingering but baseball and training for me was in full swing. During the 2021 season I had a tear in my labrum which took me out for the season and I did not handle it well. I hid from my negative emotions and feelings and pushed them deep down and acted like they weren’t there, which now I know is not the best way to be happy and live a life that you are proud of. Training my body and mind was my way out.
Some more background was that I blew out my knee, which needed a full ACL reconstruction in 2017 and that made me miss a full season of baseball my senior year of Highschool. So major injuries were sadly familiar with me and I constantly felt extremely sorry for myself and kept thinking “why me,”
I decided to take my rehab and training seriously and came back for fall ball with revamped mechanics, stronger, and more mobile than I had ever been. Some metrics for this was I was weighing 160lbs at the beginning of fall ball and got up to 175-180lb range by the end of it while also being 2.5x in my strength. I also was pitching the best I ever had been.
Winter break came and I continued to workout and do baseball activities daily because it was very important to me to come back better than I left for the upcoming season. But in our first intersquad game back, I never got to throw a real pitch. I completely blew out my UCL and would need a full reconstruction to be able to throw again. I again asked myself internally “Why me,” especially since I felt I had put myself in the best position to have success in the upcoming season.
This is where I made a change in my mindset and attitude. I was tired of building myself up to only get broken down and destroyed, so this time when I rebuilt myself it would be in all aspects of my life not just in training. I asked to be put on a body building program before my surgery so I could give myself the best possible chance to recover. I went from 180lbs to 194, and was the strongest I had ever been, all without my UCL.
I also would ask people I look up to and respect for their help and guidance during this time and it made my process easier and it taught me that it is ok to ask for help, which is sometimes the hardest thing to do.
Currently I am still in the process of rehabbing my elbow, but I am the happiest I have ever been because throughout all my experiences it has taught me that there will always be better days and situations ahead if you just keep moving.
The main way I have been able to shift my mindset from a negative one to a positive one and have allowed myself the ability to handle the lows and the highs, has been a major process with many ups and downs that takes constant work. I started by focusing on small details in things and relationships that I thought were really important to me, such as my mental health, my physical health, my family, and my friends. I looked at what was a positive impact on me and what things were negative and cut out the negativity even though that decision was difficult it allowed me to be true to myself and I have felt free. A major component has been to celebrate my success and wins no matter how big or small, a win is a win, and when taking a loss (whatever that may be) is to just roll with it and learn from it and keep on moving forward. This is a constant process of growth and taking my mental health seriously is a major component and one way I figured out how to boost it when I’m feeling low is to do something I enjoy and makes me happy. Whether that be lifting weights or having conversations with people I care about, it boosts my mental health which has a carry over effect into everything I do:)