After transferring to Sick Kids Garrett eventually stabilized and was hospitalized for about a week.
The doctors determined that a virus attacked Garrett which his system simply did not like, causing the seizures.
While they believed the series of seizures was caused by a “one-time” event (this wonky virus) – no chances were taken and he was put on anti seizure medication for 2 years.
The medication was very tough on Garrett.
Prior to the attack Garrett was very athletic and as a result had been told that he could play football when he was 8. That obviously changed as a result of the seizures.
For the 2 years he was on the medication all he talked about was wanting to play football, which he obviously could not while on medication.
Finally the 2 years were up and he was weaned off of the medication. Immediately he asked to play football. While we were terribly worried about concussions etc., our doctors reassured us that the seizures were not “hit” related – and that he could play.
In the spring of 2009 Garrett played tackle football as a tyke for the new Halton Cowboys football team (it was their first year of operation as the Halton Cowboys).
He, and the team, did “ok”, with Garrett leading the team in touchdowns (he was quarterback and running back), scoring the first touchdown and recording the first victory for the Cowboys at any level.
In the fall, he played again, as quarterback, leading the team in scoring and more importantly to its first Southern Ontario Football League Championship (the first championship for the Halton Cowboys at any level).
Garrett’s brush with mortality at such an early age made him keenly aware of how lucky he was to be able to play any sport, let alone one he loved.
This awareness continues today with Garrett at the age of 18. He considers himself lucky to still be playing the sport he loves at the university level (as a member of the National Champion Western Mustangs football team).
He also knows that many kids are not so lucky – something he saw first hand while at Sick Kids. His time at Sick Kids is something he still thinks about today. He knows that "things" can happen in life and that you could wake up one day and not be able to do something you love to do anymore.
That’s why he launched the first GO GARRETT GO back in 2010 - he wanted to “go” for the kids who “couldn’t”, to let them know there was someone who understood what they were going through and was on their team.
That’s why he thought of GO GARRETT GO. He wanted to raise money to help kids who can’t do what many of us take for granted...play a sport.
After running GO GARRETT GO while in grades 7/8 and raising over $20,000 Garrett moved on to high school. He wanted to continue GO GARRETT GO while playing for his high school team, but unfortunately his high school would not allow him to do it due to charitable donation guidelines.
That was the end of GO GARRETT GO it seemed.
Then, in the early months of 2017, while in grade 12, Garrett was recruited by Western (his pick for a school he wanted to attend).
He was thrilled to join the team as a
"redshirted" freshman (he was the youngest of quarterback on the team), and be a part of Western Football's first national championship team in 23 years.
When the season ended, he was surprised to be asked if he would be the quarterback for the London Junior Mustangs Football team. Surprised because he thought he was no longer eligible to play "club" football, that he was too old.
It turns out he was still eligible (it would be his last year of eligibility) and because he was, he would be the first London Junior Mustang quarterback to play while also playing for Western.
Never in a million years did he think he'd get another opportunity to play "club" football (as opposed to high school/university) and more importantly, get another chance to run GO GARRETT GO and raise more money to help kids.
But he did, and now is gearing up to run GO GARRETT GO one more time!
Timelines are tight (the season starts May 12th) but Garrett is excited and ready to go for kids who can't!