How Calabasas coach Thomas Cassidy regained his love of baseball

Calabasas Excessive Faculty baseball coach Thomas Cassidy, 30, took his girlfriend to Las Vegas to take pleasure in nation music on the Route 91 Harvest Pageant on the night time of October 1, 2017. They had been standing close to the stage, trying their finest. Lookout after three nights, after they determined to go to the concession stand earlier than singer Jason Aldean began his efficiency.

“We had been in line to get a drink and rapidly I heard these loud noises,” Cassidy stated. “You did not know if it was gunshots or firecrackers. You begin trying round and see individuals coming down and then you definately notice it was gunfire.”

Thus started the journey of witnessing the deadliest mass taking pictures incident by the hands of a single gunman in American historical past, the place greater than 1,000 bullets had been fired, 58 lifeless, and greater than 450 wounded.

Weeks later, Cassidy was having lunch with a pal and his leg would not cease shaking. Months later, he resigned as baseball coach. He was affected by the form of psychological well being points a soldier may face after a gunfight.

Six years later, his girlfriend is now his spouse. They’ve a 2-year-old daughter, and he’s again as head coach at Calabasas in addition to athletic director.

It is Psychological Sickness Consciousness Week beginning Sunday, and Cassidy mentioned what he went by means of as he tried to deal with what he noticed, heard and skilled.

“It was a horrible, horrible expertise, however I got here out on the opposite facet,” he stated.

Are you able to describe the scene?

“I keep in mind leaning down subsequent to the counter and grabbing my spouse. We bought to the underside of the money register. I glanced out. You can see waves of individuals happening. My dad and mom had been there too. I known as my mother on the telephone and informed them we had been hiding like them. Lastly somebody bought us and informed us to We come out the again street. This was the identical path my dad and mom used to take. This poor lady fell out of her wheelchair. We had been working down the road and a few individuals got here out of an residence advanced and stated they wanted assist, and that there have been lots of people who had been shot there. We went there. I noticed our bodies and held the injuries making an attempt to cease the bleeding. It was full chaos. They requested me and my father to assist carry somebody to the automobile. Everybody in that room was coated in blood from head to toe. Vehicles had been stopping and we had been loading individuals “There have been sirens in all places. All of us had blood on our garments. Within the morning, we bought our flight again dwelling. It was very surreal.”

How did you cope with the aftermath?

“I got here to highschool on Tuesday. I used to be fully numb. I did not know what to do with him. I had somebody in psychological well being attain out to me and supply to return and speak to me. I talked to him and, truthfully, I bought my morning name at this time. I speak to him as soon as One per week on my technique to work simply to speak about what is going on on in my life. There are issues that come up over time that convey you again to these issues. For the primary few months as much as a 12 months, I used to be numb and making an attempt to course of it. After a 12 months, I ran out of gasoline from the numbness and survived Life. That is once I actually began coping with extreme despair. I used to be struggling mentally. I actually felt like I could not do baseball on the degree I wished to. I wanted to step again and attempt to discover myself. I felt like I used to be beginning to resent baseball and I used to be a man who cherished baseball He wished to educate baseball, however I felt like if I continued, I might hate it and cease teaching.

Calabasas baseball coach and athletic director Thomas Cassidy sits at his desk.

Calabasas baseball coach and athletic director Thomas Cassidy spoke concerning the significance of psychological well being throughout a latest interview.

(Eric Sondheimer/Los Angeles Occasions)

Did the delivery of your daughter in 2021 change issues?

“I like being a father and it has modified views. Taking pictures usually has modified views for me. I actually do not sweat the small issues. I have been capable of determine what’s essential in my life. It is helped me as a coach get my message throughout to the gamers. It is actually about “By being particular person, having your priorities in life and doing the belongings you need. I’ve discovered within the blink of an eye fixed that every part can change and/or finish.”

How do you assist gamers?

“I am an enormous advocate for psychological well being and getting assist. I really feel fortunate that I bought assist and proceed to get assist. I believe it is essential that, when wanted, individuals shouldn’t hesitate to get assist. It is onerous to ask. In these following days, I used to be I am struggling. The particular person I spoke to reached out to me. I typically surprise if they would not have reached out to me if I might have gone by myself. I am without end grateful. In some ways, you saved my life. I do not assume I might nonetheless be within the place I am in with out the assistance I obtained .

Has your love for baseball returned?

“Sure. Thank coach (Shawn) Courtroom for bringing me again. I used to be hesitant. It was good to return again in a distinct position, and it helped me not take the pinnacle coach place and fall in love with baseball once more. And when he moved on, it appeared to be the identical.” Effectively once I utilized for the job they usually informed me I bought the job again. It was an actual emotional second. I went by means of this traumatic occasion, I had setbacks, and with the assistance of the individuals round me I used to be capable of get again to the place I used to be earlier than, and that was a proud second Full for me.

Why are you so sincere about your expertise?

“When college students ask, I all the time share. It is a possibility for the gamers to get to know me higher. Sure, I am a baseball coach, however I am right here to assist their improvement in life.”

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