Huskies junior shortstop Erik Forgionne is considered one of the key players on the NCAA-bound University of Washington team. His success comes in spite of a past car accident in which his vehicle flipped five to six times after being struck by a drunk driver. The 19 year old drunk driver fled the scene of the crash on foot, but was eventually caught and sentenced to 90 days in jail. The drunk driver didn’t even remember getting behind the wheel of his car before the accident occurred. Forgionne’s accident, which occurred in Tacoma, was unique in that, despite the severity of the accident, Forgionne remained relatively unharmed and was able to walk away from the accident.
Forgionne suffered from a sore back that took two weeks to recover but the true cost of the accident was its damage to Forgionne’s psyche. The Seattle Times interviewed UW coach Lindsay Meggs who said “I think [the accident] took its toll on him. Like all young kids he thought he was invincible and in just an instant was brought back to reality…I think it grounded him a little more and made him appreciate being closer to home, to his family. I think when he got over that, it gave him some peace and some serenity.” Forgionne is now the Pac-12 defensive player of the year and is a very likely pick for the MLB draft next week.
In our experience handling cases like this involving serious accidents and drunk drivers we’ve found it is often the mental scars that take the longest to heal. Forgionne’s physical recovery was quick, but it seems that his mental recovery took more time. Luckily, this didn’t stop Forgionne from having a .981 fielding percentage, the highest in the Pac-12.