September 16, 2009

Hagan cleared to play, enjoyed visit

There was a time recently where Ohio State safety commit Chad Hagan out of Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon McMillan thought he would never play sports again because of a heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, causing an irregular or rapid heart beat.

During his time dealing with the condition after finding out about it just recently in the spring, doctors had told him that he might not ever be able to play sports again.

"When they first told me that I could never play again. I was so depressed and I couldn't realize that I would never be able to play sports," said the 6-foot-2, 230-pound Hagan. "I felt like my life was over and was tumbling down."

One thing Hagan didn't do, however, was get down on himself.

"It was pretty tough and I got a second opinion and he told me something different," Hagan said. "He told me stuff to do and (I had a procedure) and things went really well. Now, I am healthy as an ox."

Battling through it much like he did when playing the game of football, Hagan only took the positive news. It came last Friday.

"Last Friday I was cleared to go and I am going to be playing again this Friday," Hagan said. "(Monday) was my first practice back with content and stuff like that and I was excited to get in there and knock people around. I played running back and I ran some people over. It was great getting back out there."

The entire time Hagan was in contact with Ohio State and filling them in with the latest news on the condition, and the senior safety was pleased by the way the Buckeyes stood by him while he went through the hard time.

"They knew about my situation and stuff like that and they just were as positive as can be. They told me not to worry about it and thanked me for being honest. They said they weren't going anywhere and they told me to let them know. I told them that I got cleared Friday and they are ecstatic about it."

With the heart condition in the rearview mirror, Hagan got up to Columbus this past weekend to take in a buckeye game when they hosted No. 5 USC. For Hagan, it was a visit to remember.

"I loved every single second of the visit," Hagan said. "You go from the Blackwell, then you walk to the Skull Session and that was just nuts. Walking into the Skull Session and seeing everyone cheer was amazing. Then there was more cheering as we walked to the stadium. It was just amazing.

"The entire stadium was just red and all the fans were just crazy the entire time," Hagan added. "Players were loose and everything, they just lost a tough one… I had no idea what the Skull Session was or what the Blackwell was and it was just great."

Durng the trip, Hagan said he was excited to have met with his future teammates again and bond and make new friendships.

"I met up with recruits like Taylor Graham, David Durham and Drew Basil and stuff like that and we were sitting together and we saw Seantrel Henderson, Lamarcus Joyner, Jordan Hicks, and people and it was just nuts.

"I had already made friends before," Hagan said, " but I made friends with Taylor Graham, David Durham, and James Louis. It was cool to make friends with my future teammates."

But Hagan couldn't get over the pre-game rituals the Buckeyes do every week. The tradition was just something that really stood out to the defensive back.

"Just seeing that line of people from the Blackwell all the way to the Skull Session and then you have people in there waiting for you, and then people in the stadium who want to see you," Hagan said. "When we were walking back someone asked to take a picture with me, and that was really cool because he knew who I was."

Though Ohio State lost, Hagan was impressed with the Buckeyes' ability to come up and almost knock off one of the best teams in the country.

He took some pointers, too, from the game.

"I learned a lot from watching the game," Hagan said. "I watched Kurt Coleman a lot and I also watched Taylor Mays a lot. I watched their styles and they are way different and I took some of the stuff back with me and try to incorporate it into my own game to make me better."

"It was really tough to see them lose. Really tough," Hagan said, "but what better time for any recruit to see some really good top-notch football. It was a great game, but they just lost a tough one at the end. I was pretty mad they lost."

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.


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