WOOD RIVER - Bowler L.J. Walker has discovered a new-found sport to love. He suffered a concussion and decided to make his transition into a new sport, where he has become a star.
Walker is a Midwest Members Credit Union Male Athlete of the Month for the Oilers.
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"I would like to thank my family, friends, and coaches for standing by my side and helping me throughout my recovery process after I got my fourth concussion," he said. "They helped me get back to the position I am in today and that has allowed me to find a love of bowling. I would also like to thank my close friends for being understanding of my situation and still helping me maintain a good social life."
Garry Herron is Walker's bowling coach for East Alton-Wood River.
"Overcoming my significant brain injury and getting back into a sport has been a great accomplishment," Walker said. "I have been able to apply the strong character qualities I gained from my experience, into my sport such as hard work, determination, and the ability to overcome or accomplish anything I set my mind to.
"This is only my first year bowling, but I love the energized environment my teammates and I are able to create each and every day. My high school career of sports took an unexpected turn during my sophomore year. I got a severe concussion and had to stop playing basketball and soccer. I had to show strong character throughout my recovery process and it’s still ongoing. This journey has shaped who I am today because it helped me develop my strong, resilient character."
Walker enjoys bowling so much that he said he likely will join a league after high school. Right now, Illinois State University stands out as the institution where he wants to attend college.
"I am interested in pursuing a career in business, possibly finance," he said. "I was able to get back to a regular school schedule again this year, after only being in-person for one class each day throughout my whole junior year. Despite having to make significant changes to my schedule and do things differently, I am currently in the top 5% of my class."