Watching Umatilla's Giz Aguilar play baseball, it's easy to see how much he enjoys the game.

After suffering 12 concussions, he's lucky to even take the field.

The senior shortstop and pitcher has had a string of bad luck, dating back to when he was just a 1-year-old when he suffered his first concussion after falling off a tire swing.

"It has just been random stuff," Aguilar said of his head injuries.

Aguilar has suffered the injuries playing football several times and after he tried riding his bike with no hands and his eyes closed when he was 5-years-old.

"I ran into a stupid fire hydrant," said Aguilar of the bike accident.

Doctors demand that Aguilar wears a protective helmet while playing baseball at all times and his parents make sure it stays on his head.

"The doctors said after he suffered the first concussion that it's easier for him to suffer another one," said Giz's mother Rose Aguilar.

This past summer Giz suffered his 12th concussion after a collision in the outfield in an American Legion baseball game, and it almost ended his career.

"As his mom, I didn't want him to play anymore after his last one," Rose said. "It bothers me immensely that he still plays, but the joy he gets from playing out-weighs the worries that I have for him."

Doctors have said he's lucky to still be alive and at one point suggested he step away from the game.

"I just want to play like everyone else," Aguilar said. "I just don't know what I would do without baseball. It is the best game in the world."

The Aguilars went through a tough period after his last concussion, deciding if he should continue his athletic career, but Giz pleaded and begged to play.

"Football was eliminated, but as long as he wears the helmet we figured (baseball) would be OK," Rose said. "It was not an easy time for us."

"When he steps between the lines it is all business," Umatilla head coach Joe Vandecar said. "He is a real inspiration to the other players."

A vocal leader that constantly chatters, Aguilar works extremely hard according to Vandecar and is a joy to coach.

"He is just one of those kids that gives everything he has in his tank," Vandecar said. "His work ethic is very high."

Risk is still involved and not overlooked.

"It's always in the back of my mind," Vandecar said. "You don't like it, but the doctors say he is good to play and he deserves to be out there."

"I can't even watch him bat," Rose said. "It bothers me, so I just turn my head until I hear the bat hit the ball."

Hitting the ball is something Giz does well, batting .395 last season and just over .370 this year. He has been an all-star at almost every level and involved with baseball since Little League.

"I look at Giz and I see the way he loves the game and it's really hard to stop him from playing," Rose said.

Giz was not allowed to pitch in a recent game against Joseph, as the umpire ruled his injury was too much of a risk for him to assume.

"It was an unfortunate situation," Vandecar said. "The umpire wanted written permission for him to play. We've had it with us ever since."

Giz has ambitions to play college baseball and goals of walking on at Clackamas Community College.

"On-and-off the field he is a great kid," Vandecar said. "He is a leader and he impresses me with his courage."

In the classroom, Aguilar carries a 3.5 grade-point average.

"We couldn't be more proud of what he has done in the classroom," Rose said. "It's unfortunate with his injuries, but with his will to play I think he can play college baseball."


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