Road to Recovery: Presidio Athletic Director Defies Odds With Help From Past, Current Baseball Players

Road to Recovery: Presidio Athletic Director Defies Odds With Help From Past, Current Baseball Players

By Alicia Neaves
NewsWest 9

PRESIDIO - The Athletic Director of Presidio High School is defying the odds. Back in 2010, he was told he had four months to live.

Nearly five years later, he's already gained movement back on his right side after being paralyzed by excessive radiation.

Coach Pino didn't accept the fate doctors gave him four years and nine months ago. He made up his mind that he will watch his three children grow, that he will walk again and bring home a state championship trophy for the Presidio Blue Devils baseball team.

Its safe to say that Presidio is a baseball town. Possibly the biggest die hard fan for the Presidio Blue Devils is their Athletic Director, Coach Pino Armendariz.

In 2007, Armendariz went to the doctor to check out his constant headaches. Turned out he had a tumor on his brain stem.

Three surgeries and 35 radiation treatments later, baseball was still his top priority.

"The doctors told me I was very lucky to be alive because I kept postponing my doctor's appointments week after week because we were still advancing in the playoffs," said Armendariz.

Just one week later, Coach Pino was at a Houston hospital. He had lost feeling in his body below his neck. Doctors said he had four months to live.

That's when his former and current players stepped in.

"When he asked me if I could help, without hesitation I said yes. Because, somehow, it made me feel like I could help the person who supported me and helped me so much get back - at least a little - to the way he was before," said former Presidio baseball player, Jose Barron.

At least five players went to college to study physical therapy. Two are back in Presidio treating Coach Pino every day.

"I call them my baseball boys. They never left our side," said Armendariz.

"The movement becomes stronger, and from there he's just been improving. I haven't seen him regress at all. He's just been going harder and harder and progressing every day," said former Presidio baseball player, Isael Natividad.

"There have been improvements. Now he can stand up still. We've been walking him with help from a walker and another trainer," said Barron.

Feeling is back on the entire right side of Armendariz's body. Something doctors thought would never happen again.

"This was the signal right here. It's the 'Go' sign. Now I'm sending it to him to go out there, get motivated, get focused, keep being a role model for all of us and keep motivating us because that's what you do [coach]. You're an example of greatness," said Natividad.

"If anybody tells you, for some reason, that you can't do it, if God hasn't said, 'No', it's not too late," said Armendariz.

Through his treatments, Coach Pino has always attended as many games as possible. This year has been extra special because he's attended all baseball and softball games. Home and away.