Scott Maloney inspires student athletes

Scott+Maloney+inspires+student+athletes

Hannah Feakes

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Scott Maloney travels around the country sharing his inspirational and shocking story of how one decision turned into an almost fatal accident that has affected his life for over 10 years. He spoke in Burt Kahn Court to more than 100 students and athletes on Tuesday, Nov 17.

Maloney, 32, grew up in Plainville, Massachusetts, where he went to King Philip Regional High School. He later attended Becker College to run cross country.

According to Maloney’s website, he was rushed to the emergency room, Sept. 18, 2004, after falling from a rooftop as a result of a decision made while intoxicated. His parents were told that their son had suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and that he may not make it through the night.

“Don’t think for a minute that these tragedies can’t affect you, they do,” Maloney said. “It affects and alters the lives of your friends, your family and your relatives. It changes things for others that you may have not even met yet. The notion that one small seemingly inconsequential event or moment can change the course of life and ripple through the world as we know it.”

Throughout days of uncertainty, months in the hospital and years of physical therapy and persistence, Maloney is back on his feet and ready to tell his story and change the lives of students.

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“One decision, one night, over 11 years ago, and I am still suffering the consequences. What separates me, is that I lived,” he said.

Madison Stapleton, a freshman on the women’s lacrosse team attended the speech.

“I thought it was a story that relates to so many people on so many levels and this type of thing is unfortunately, a common occurrence,” she said. “So it is good for people to always think about how one decision can change your whole life.”

Alcohol is prevalent on college campuses. According to a college drinking prevention website, about 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are injured under the influence of alcohol and about 2,000 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related injuries annually, including motor vehicle crashes. Maloney mentions some of these statistics during his talk.

“We hope that our friends will be around after a great night but because of excessive alcohol, that is not always the case,” Maloney said.

Alex Hlesciak is a junior athlete who attended Maloney’s speech. She has been personally affected by alcoholism related incidents and shares her thoughts on the presentation.

“It was a really inspirational story,” Hlesciak said. “I know people who passed away through this same experience and so it was really moving for me and I think it was great lesson for all of us [athletes] to learn.”

Hailey Wyatt, a junior on the rugby team was called up to the front of the audience and received a copy of Mahoney’s new book, “Lean on Me,” which is about the struggle of recovering from a TBI.

“I thought that his speech was very refreshing because it was very simple and straight to the point,” Wyatt said. “He really emphasized what he wanted to say in a very simple manner that speaks to college students. This is a silly thing that kids tend to look past. He emphasized decisions while drinking all together and not just drinking and driving.”

“[His book] talks about where I was before my injury,” Maloney said. “How close I was to death and where I am now, sharing my story throughout the country.”

In the novel, Maloney quotes British author, Douglas Adams.

“I agree with this quote,” he said. “It nails my story right on the head. ‘I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I ended up where I needed to be.’”

The novel begins a few days before his injury on Sept. 18, 2004, and ends in July of 2014.

Lyneene R. Richardson, Associate Director of Athletics for Academics, was contacted by a former student athlete who is currently helping to promote Scott Maloney. She wanted to promote responsible drinking and good decision making, and Maloney seemed like the perfect fit.

“We typically sponsor two programs per academic year that we require all to attend, which helps to develop a well-rounded student athlete,” Richardson said. “Hopefully the student athletes understand that there are consequences to every action that effect not only them but those close to them.  As administrators we want all of our students to make good choices and have happy, successful, safe lives.”

Maloney can relate to students, their experiences and the pressures of socials settings including alcohol consumption. His mission now is to share his story in hopes of helping just one person avoid the hardship and intense amounts of recovery that he and his family had to undergo.

In the words of Maloney, “we cannot change the past, but we can change the future.”

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