In 2017, before playing a single game for the CU basketball team, Evan Battey had a stroke and two seizures.
Battey says it felt like he was paralyzed.
He couldn't move, and he was in the hospital for five days.
Now two years later, Battey continues to trudge along on the road to recovery. But there’s one place that’s been especially difficult for him to rehab.
Standing six feet eight inches tall, Battey is a big person – with an even bigger personality.
“I like to talk,” says Battey with a wry smile.
If you spend any time with him, you wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he wants to be a sports broadcaster someday.
“I’ve always heard or listened to people on the radio or tv and I just wanted to get into it,” says Battey.
But for the now sophomore in the University of Colorado’s journalism program, broadcasting goes deeper than bright lights and TV cameras.
“Through my lens, talking is very liberating, you’re essentially sharing your story and experiences with somebody else,” says Battey. “And they’re sharing their stories with you. It’s a two-way street.”
Shortly after his stroke, Battey was confined to a prison of silence.
“I was learning how to say specific syllables all over again like ‘puh-puh’ and ‘muh-muh.’"
He’d lost his ability to speak.
More devastating than merely being stripped of communication, Battey felt like he’d also lost his identity.
“When I came out of the hospital i felt like i lost a bit of my identity, of myself,” says Battey. “My teammates, my friends, my family, [they] all know me as the big talker on my team and in my community. I was stripped of that identity for a while."
The CU journalism department's paving the path to recovery. Battey says that being forced to talk on camera, in front of people, and reading off a teleprompter has helped him to re-gain control of his communication skills; and thus, re-capture his identity.
“I still feel like it’s the same, I’m a talker,” says Battey. “Even though sometimes you can’t understand me, I’m still talking either way.”
Whether on the court, or in front of a mic, Evan Battey is talking his way to a bright future.