News about Hit Hard
Sports Spectrum Podcast
Pat and Tammy McLeod, Harvard University Chaplains on Ambiguous Loss
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
Gettysburg Times Article
Hanover native discusses son’s football-related brain injury in new book
Jul 5, 2019
100 Huntley Street Coverage
Jul 4, 1019
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