NEWS & REVIEWS

News | Reviews

 News about Hit Hard

Christianity Today Review
When Trauma on the Field Creates Trauma in the Home

September 5, 2019

Boston Public Radio Interview  
Tammy And Pat McLeod Had To Learn To Let Go Of The Past After Their Son’s Traumatic Brain Injury

August 12, 2019

Nightside with Dan Rea Interview
Hit Hard: Pat and Tammy McLeod

August 6, 2019

Fox News Interview
This week, Martha sat down with Pat McLeod and Tammy McLeod, authors of the memoir, Hit Hard.

August 5, 2019

Moody Radio Interview: Ken & Deb

July 26, 2019

Moody Radio Interview: Janet Parshall

July 22, 2019

Cru 19 Interview

July 23, 2019

Waypoint Adventure Article 
One program with many firsts

July 18, 2019

Lay Renewal Interview 
Radio Interview: Pat and Tammy McLeod – Hit Hard

July 18, 2019

The ARC Article 
When Life Hit you with Ambiguous Loss

July 10, 2019

Gordon Conwell Article 
Alumni Book Release: Hit Hard

July 9, 2019

Sports Spectrum Podcast
Pat and Tammy McLeod, Harvard University Chaplains on Ambiguous Loss

July 9, 2019

Boston Globe Article
After son’s brain injury, Harvard chaplains Pat and Tammy McLeod trace the evolution of grief, gratitude and belief

Jul 8, 2019

Listener Podcast
Hit Hard

July 7, 2019

Gettysburg Times Article
Hanover native discusses son’s football-related brain injury in new book

Jul 5, 2019

100 Huntley Street Coverage

Jul 4, 2019

Spirit Filled Woman Article 
Mourning with Those Who Mourn: How to Support Grieving Loved Ones through Ambiguous Loss

June 12, 2019

Channel 7 Coverage of Zach McLeod Reuniting with Tim Tebow

June 5, 2019

 Reviews about Hit Hard

What people are saying about Hit Hard

A stirring and inspiring story about loss, grief, love, and faith. Pat and Tammy McLeod have much to teach us all about the meaning of ambiguous loss—how they let go of the son they once knew and learned to embrace the son they have today.

Ben Bradlee Jr., former Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist at the Boston Globe; author of The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams, and The Forgotten: How the People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America


Spiritual, riveting, compassionate, loving, cathartic, and so much more. A must-read for every parent and parent-to-be.

Dr. Robert C. Cantu, Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology and Cofounder of the CTE Center, Boston University School of Medicine.


This book is riveting. I could not put it down. Pat and Tammy McLeod share their story of being “hit hard” by their eldest son’s head injury in a high school football game. With twists and turns, their story moves from sadness to joy and back again, but always informs and provides hope. While this book is about a child who is brain injured, it will be helpful for anyone coping with losses of any kind. The awful challenge is to embrace change—especially a change we loathe. In Hit Hard, the McLeods share their journey of how, with faith and dignity, they are coping with loss. I recommend this book not only for professionals but also for those who want to learn how to live with loss of any kind, clear or ambiguous. 

Dr. Pauline Boss, Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota; author of Ambiguous Loss and other books.


Hit Hard is a gripping, brutally honest narrative of the emotional devastation of parents and siblings when the athletically gifted eldest son suffers severe brain injury in a football accident, and of the disruptive effects of the injury on family relationships. When, after several years of flailing about in their grief, the family learns to identify what they are experiencing as “ambiguous loss,” they are finally able to acknowledge and celebrate what is good and precious in the life of their son, especially his unbounded joy in family and friends, and his unwavering faith in God. Told by the parents in alternating sections, the story is both gut-wrenching and inspiring.

Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University; Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia


On the surface, Hit Hard tells the story of a young man’s brain trauma and its long-term impact on the McLeod family. But there is far more to this book than a story about a catastrophic injury. Parents Pat and Tammy alternate as authors, often reflecting on the same incident from two points of view. In essence, they weave two stories into one, which underscores how each member of a family—of a community, really—is affected so differently by the same loss, especially a loss that never ends. The story itself is compelling on its own. But their honesty, their maturity of faith, their confession of hope, and their commitment to deal with the harsh reality of the experience without yielding to despair set this book apart as profound, insightful, and helpful. I was so captured that I read it in one sitting.

Gerald L. Sittser, Professor of Theology, Whitworth University; author of A Grace Disguised


The McLeod family has been on a remarkable journey. By sharing the highs, the lows, and the unvarnished truth of their son Zachary’s serious brain injury, they invite us all to reflect on finding meaning in tragedy, coping with a new reality, and discovering the depth of a family’s love.

Chris Nowinski, PhD, cofounder and CEO, Concussion Legacy Foundation; author of Head Games: The Global Concussion Crisis


Good stories can help us find meaning in the midst of devastating tragedy. Hit Hard is one of those stories. It’s a hard but wonderful story that shows us how to deal with unimaginable loss.

Matt Carroll, Former Boston Globe Reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner as a member of the Globe’s Spotlight team


Hit Hard is a story of tragedy, grief, heartbreak, acceptance, hope, and redemption that will encourage every reader who has also been hit hard by the reality of this life in a fallen world outside the Garden of Eden. I have been privileged to know Pat and Tammy through this difficult journey. I have witnessed, through the pain and challenges, their struggle to accept the unknown and begin grieving without closure. Their faith has inspired me, and Zach is so fortunate to have parents who are deeply committed to Christ and to him. Hit Hard does not answer the question of why these difficult things happen to faithful believers. It does provide an inspirational guide to what we are to do when the challenge before us is so great that, without faith in a faithful God, we would lose our way. Pat and Tammy do not lose their way. Instead they show the rest of us how to find ours.

Stephen Arterburn, bestselling author and founder of NewLife Ministries and Women of Faith


Jesus told us that in this life we will have trouble (John 16:33). Hit Hard is a heartfelt and courageous testimony of fear, disillusionment, and hope in the midst of loss. Pat and Tammy corroborate the reality of so many Christians who walk through the shadow of death and still feel evil. In this regard, Hit Hard is a generous and empathetic love offering to the body of Christ.

Jonathan L. Walton, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, Harvard University 


One of the greatest destroyers of hope in our lives is a lack of honesty about pain, grief, and loss. In Hit Hard, Pat and Tammy McLeod share, with painful honesty, the reality of living through ambiguous loss together as a family. I wept several times reading this book and was moved by their commitment to Christ and especially their son Zach’s focus on God. If you are experiencing loss, this book will bring you hope, comfort, joy, and a certainty that you are not alone.

Matt Mikalatos, author of Good News for a Change and Sky Lantern


I’ve known Pat and Tammy McLeod since 1986. This is the story about how their family’s life changed when their sixteen-year old son, Zach, suffered a traumatic brain injury after a routine hit during a high school football game. It is a story about marriage and its imperfections; about parenting and its vulnerability; about the struggle of faith in life’s uncertainty. It is a story about overwhelming grief and unexpected slivers of grace; about loneliness and friendship; about finding a marker when you are lost. It is a story about finding a name for their experience—ambiguous loss—and trying to hang on to God and each other when sometimes “hanging on” is all you can do. You will find yourself in this story somewhere. As I read it, I thought of being a parent, being a child, being a brother, being a friend, and being a person of faith. I cried and I laughed . . . it seemed like real life.

Dr. Ron Sanders, author of After the Election and Campus Minister at Stanford University

Hit Hard hits hard. By sharing their experience through story, Pat and Tammy offer humanity a wonderful gift from their struggle, making meaning of their loss in the crucible called life. Their story resonates with issues that transcend geographic location, class, and race, not only because it interweaves their experiences in South Africa and in the US, but because ambiguous loss and its ubiquitousness is a reality for many people across the world.

Edwin Smith, Edwin T. Smith, Former Director, University of Pretoria Mamelodi Campus


Clarity. That is what this book brings to those searching for meaning in the midst of loss and suffering, or for those who feel caught up in a story that has no last chapter.

Bob Swenson, ex All-Pro linebacker, Denver Broncos; founder of the Freedom 58 Project