Hit Hard


Life hit Pat and Tammy McLeod hard when their son Zach collapsed on a high school football field; he had sustained a severe brain injury. Facing the devastating possibility that things would never be the same for their beloved son, they committed to staying strong as a family and finding a way to maintain their footing. But the journey would reshape their faith, their family, and their future in ways they never saw coming.

What would it take for them to navigate the endless fallout of their son's life-transforming injury? How could they reconcile their grief over the life Zach lost, with gratitude for the life that remained? And how does a couple move forward together in their search for hope, rather than letting indefinable loss drive them apart?

Hit Hard is the true story of the McLeods' journey through ambiguous loss―both having and not having their son. It's the story of a family who faced unexpected heartbreak, a story that offers us all glimpses of how we can pick up the pieces, redefine expectations, and trust God for hope in the midst of unresolved pain.

The McLeod's experience with ambiguous loss in Hit Hard is relevant to so many who have gone through similar types of loss, from PTSD to addiction recovery, families with loved ones MIA to those with Alzheimer's, those in foster care to head injuries or brain trauma. Walk with them through their journey as you find a way through yours as well. 

My Review

I have read a few books regarding football and the implications of head injuries sustained while playing this physical sport. Many athletes have suffered traumatic brain injuries. This was brought to light more prominently with the movie, Concussion starring Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu. 

It is so sad when you read about a young child experiencing a traumatic brain injury like Zach did. Here he was just a teenager playing a sport that he he enjoyed until one day, his and his family's world was shook upside down. 

This book while sad is uplifting as well. I like that Tammy and Pat shared their story and did not hold anything back. Zach may not have been able to talk anymore but though his body language, he still could communicate and his joy and positive attitude shined though. Thanks to the McLeod family for sharing their story. 

About the Authors:
Pat and Tammy McLeod serve as Harvard Chaplains for Cru, an interdenominational Christian ministry. Tammy is also the Director of College Ministry at Park Street Church in Boston. She received her MA in Spiritual Formation from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Pat holds an MA in Theological Studies from the International School of Theology and an MA in Science & Religion and a PhD in Practical Theology from Boston University. They are founding members of the Mamelodi Initiative in the township of Mamelodi, South Africa—a project that connects Harvard students with at-risk youth in a mentoring and educational program to prepare them for college. Pat and Tammy, certified instructors for Interpersonal Communication Programs, Inc., have been married for more than three decades and are parents to four grown children. They coauthored the book Hit Hard: One Family’s Journey of Letting God of What Was and Learning to Live Well with What Is in which they share their journey into the world of ambiguous loss that began after their son suffered a traumatic brain injury playing football. Zach’s story received media coverage by ABC, NBC, CBS, and NPR. Recently they started COVID-19 Conversations on their website hoping to help others be resilient in ambiguous loss.  For more information, please visit https://patandtammymcleod.com


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