Parker's Brennan Olin battles through injuries to play at state

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John Barry
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Brennan Olin knows that if it were any other sport but baseball, he wouldn’t be playing.

The recent Janesville Parker graduate tore the ACL and meniscus in his left knee last September for the second time.

Olin will have surgery to repair the damage in July.

Tuesday morning, he will be Parker’s starting third baseman in a WIAA Division 1 state quarterfinal game against Bay Port.

Olin can handle the pain that comes with each and every movement he makes on the field. What he couldn’t handle was the pain of not being on the field with his teammates.

“I don’t really think about or focus on my knee,” Olin said. “I just try to go out and help the team any way I can.

“I wear a brace and that helps a little. I ice it after every game, and I don’t think I can really hurt it any more than I already have.”

Olin first injured the knee in March of 2013 in a basketball game against Janesville Craig. He had surgery when the swelling subsided and missed the entire 2013 baseball season.

Playing a pick-up game of basketball last September, Olin re-injured the same knee and feared the worst.

Parker coach Brian Martin remembers the day Olin walked into his room at school last September and told him he had hurt his knee again.

“The first time he hurt his knee it was a bad injury,” Martin said. “The second time was just bad luck. He had done everything he was supposed to do to be able to come back and play, but the knee just gave out.

“When he hurt it the second time, I just put my arm around him and told him some things aren’t meant to be. But to his credit, he dealt with the pain and found a way to get on the field for us.”

Olin started this season as the third baseman and played the first eight games.

In game nine against Verona, Olin was chugging to third base, trying to stretch a double into a triple, when the same knee gave out again. He figured his season and baseball career were over but once again defied the odds.

The knee ballooned in size just like it had before, and Olin missed 13 games.

Fortunately, the swelling eventually subsided, and Olin decided to test the knee for stability and strength.

He knew he couldn’t have played basketball, football or any other sport that requires constant motion, but baseball doesn’t tax the knee as much or require non-stop movement. 

Olin returned in the second-to-last regular-season game against Janesville Craig and has started the last five games.

He takes a .286 batting average into the state tournament, but more important solidifies an infield that has been stellar all season with Zach Bailey at shortstop and Dominic Gruenwald at second.

“Before Brennan hurt his knee the first time, I had him penciled in as a starter either in the infield or outfield,” Martin said. “He would’ve been one of our best baserunners and a pretty good hitter, too.

“But considering how far he’s come and with tearing that same knee twice, we’re just happy to have him in the lineup and contributing.”

Not as happy as Brennan Olin is.

Surgery can wait. He’s got more baseball to play.

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