About Kevin Dahlgren

I have two main keepsakes from my baseball playing career. The first is a page on the MaxPreps website showing a .167 batting average, .211 on base percentage, and .166 slugging percentage for my senior season of high school...not stellar stats.

The second keepsake is a collection of photos taken of the Northern Arizona University club baseball team. Coincidentally those photos include the final game I was ever penciled into a lineup.

My playing career ended when I was involved in an accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down when I was 20. Little did I know the end of my playing career did not mean the end of my sports career.

Growing up participating in most athletic activities you can think of, I consumed any and all sports content I could get my eyes, ears, and hands on. In the late 1990s to early 2000s that meant reading box scores in the OC Register while eating breakfast before turning on SportsCenter to watch highlights in the mirror as I got ready for my day, rushing to/from the mailbox each week so I could sit on my bedroom floor staring at the mesmerizing images that graced the pages of Sports Illustrated, and listening to the ear-wrenching sounds of a dial-up tone when the phone line was clear so I could check the World Wide Web for more stories and image galleries of the sports I loved. At the time, I pictured myself as one of the athletes in the magazine or that I would see my name in a baseball video game (not a created player or Road to the Show). Little did I know I was absorbing knowledge that would one day be used in a career off the field.

A vivid memory of mine after the accident was talking with Dr. Bradley Nicols, the neurosurgeon who fused my T4-5 and T7-T9 vertebrae and repaired my open skull fracture a few days before, telling me that based on my injuries, there was little to no chance I would ever regain the feeling and movement I had lost.

My response was a slightly more colorful and much shorter version of, “Excuse me good sir, but while I respect your vast knowledge of the spine and human anatomy based on your many years of medical school along with you being one of the most respected and well-known spinal surgeons in the country, you fail to take into account the stubbornness of the person to whom you are speaking and I surely prove you wrong and walk out of this hospital.”

Well, I didn’t walk out of that specific hospital, but…here’s how it’s going.

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In the weeks and months after my accident, I began my search for a hobby to fill free time between doctors’ appointments and physical therapy workouts. Binge watching TV shows and playing video games were not exactly hobbies conducive to the active lifestyle I needed to aid in my recovery. Between Call of Duty games or episodes of whatever show I was binge-watching at the time, I came across a Facebook post of an old friend who had spent time working for our school’s photography department. On a whim, I made my own post looking for advice on borrowing or purchasing my first DSLR camera. Little did I know that post would change my life more than the accident had.

Shortly before going to an Angel game on my 21st birthday in 2011, I was gifted a Canon Rebel XT entry-level camera. That gifted camera was ‘wind’ that ignited the ember that had been smoldering since I was a kid watching SportsCenter, reading Sports Illustrated, and listening to Angel talk radio on AM570 KLAC. Little did I know, bringing that camera to the game would open my eyes to a side of the sports world I had never considered as a career, the side behind the lens as a content creator.

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