Meet the Jackfish: Ethan Pasco
Ethan Pasco is a study in perseverance and patience.
The 23-year-old outfielder for the Welland Jackfish is finally back on the field this season after missing all of last year following a horrific leg injury he incurred in August of 2021.
Pasco was running the bases when he popped a hamstring and then landed awkwardly, fracturing his ankle which required surgery in May of 2022.
“I’ve never broken a bone in my life but after going through that I knew immediately that something was wrong right away,” the Niagara Falls native said. “It was 100 per cent a freak accident. The doctor said usually you only get those type of fractures in car accidents so it was kind of an anomaly.”
Pasco was determined to return to play, but doctors told him the recovery would not be easy.
“The doctor was pretty straightforward with me and told me I was going to have to do a lot of work to get it back but I knew with my work ethic, I was pretty determined to come back,” Pasco said. “I still have a lot of juice left in me. I didn’t really let the negatives get me down. I tried to stay as optimistic as I could through the journey.
“It’s been about a two-year recovery period but now I’m back and couldn’t be happier.”
Part of the convalescence was relearning how to manipulate his injured foot.
“It was terrible. I had nerve damage in my foot so I had to learn how to use my toes and ankle and foot again. Plus there was structure joint mobilization and muscles. It was a long and terrible process and I’m glad I’m on the back end of it.”
Pasco attended Saint Paul Catholic High School in Niagara Falls where he was a standout track and field athlete — he finished fourth at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships in the 100m, 200m and 400m three years in a row — thanks to his blinding speed.
His speed has yet to entirely return, but Pasco isn’t worried.
“I (still) feel it slightly, a little bit,” he admitted. “I’m still not 100 per cent. My walking gait is still a little off but just being out here getting the reps is the best for it right now.
“I’m still fast, but not as fast as next year. Tune in next year and you’ll see.”
Pasco has seen limited duty as he eases his way back into the lineup.
“It’s super important just to be around the culture and be around baseball again. It gives me the confidence heading into next year I have guys who trust me to be able to work my way back in and be myself again.
“It’s awesome. Just being able to play in Welland and being around the guys is super encouraging to get back on my feet again.”
Welland manager Brian Essery is a big fan of what Pasco brings to the team.
“I really love the way he works and is working his way back,” Essery said. “He’s not getting many opportunities this year being off for two years but you never hear anything from him. Anytime you call on him to pinch hit or pinch run, he’s ready to go.
“I think this year it’s more of an ease-back situation. After two years it’s pretty hard to come back at this level and pick it right back up but we’ll ease him back in and then next year hopefully he’s a big part of our team. That’s the goal.”
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