Fractured skull doesn't stop Shawnee lacrosse star

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Shawnee High School lacrosse star Mike Shinske has never been afraid to put on the helmet and take a hit, even though just two years ago he suffered a life-threatening brain injury.

When Shinske fell during a pickup basketball game, he fractured his skull in two spots. Blood built up between his outer membrane and skull. He could have died.

"Smashed my head and woke up about five in the morning in Virtua and was just confused, just throwing up, just not myself, and was rushed to Cooper Hospital. I was in the ICU for about two weeks until they did my surgery," Shinske said.

"I think I was in a state of shock. If I could, I wanted to switch places with him," Mike's mother Lori Shinske said.

After emergency surgery, doctors told Shinske he would never play again.

"I devastated. My parents know I've been playing sports since I was five. Taking that hit from the doctors was just out of nowhere. I knew I wasn't going to settle for that," Shinske said.

And he didn't.

After a year of vigorous rehab which included vision, coordination, and strength therapy, doctors finally cleared him to return to helmeted sports last spring.

Shinske scored two goals in his first game back.

And believe it or not, in the fall, he even played quarterback for the Shawnee High School football team.

So is Mike Shinske scared to play at all?

"No. Never have. Never will be," Shinske said.

Shinske's remarkable comeback story doesn't end at Shawnee. He's taking his no fear mentality to Penn State next year to play D1 lacrosse. It's another sign he hasn't missed a beat since returning to the field.

"It's been an unbelievable journey, no doubt about it. He has had exceptional medical care," Mike's father Jim said.

"I can tell you, I was in a dark place for a long time so coming out here with my teammates, it's definitely great inspiration," Shinske said.

The senior is among the leading scorers in Burlington County, proving you can overcome anything if you just to put your mind to it.
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