Most professional athletes are usually perceived as pretty tough guys, but sometimes it's hard to remember that they're only human, and they react to tragedy with the same sadness as the rest of us.
Just recently, Oakland Athletics pitcher Pat Neshek experienced pure joy with the birth of his first child, only to have the baby pass away a mere 23 hours later due to unknown circumstances. And while you'd expect any parent to absolutely fall apart at the seams over something so horrible, Pat and his wife showed incredible strength and faith by tweeting out the following message after losing their son:
Please pray for my family. Tonight my wife & I lost our first & only son 23 hours after he was born with no explanation.
And though he did also question how God could let something like this happen, the fact that he asked for prayers instead of yelling at the world is nothing short of amazing.
Unfortunately, Pat Neshek isn't the only athlete who has had to come to terms with something horrible happening in their lives. At least four other sports figures have had something tragic happen, and somehow, they've managed to recover and move on with their lives.
Josh Hamilton -- The Texas Rangers player was understandably devastated when 39-year-old Shannon Stone died after trying to catch a ball for his son that had been thrown by Hamilton. He could have easily retired for good after the accident, but even Stone's family urged him to continue playing the game he loves so much.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. -- How on earth Dale ever got behind the wheel of a Nascar vehicle after his father, Dale Earnhardt, Sr. passed away on the track at the Daytona International Speedway in 2001 is beyond me. He's persevered and been very successful not only in Nascar, but in keeping his dad's legacy alive.
Michael Jordan -- The Chicago Bulls star has been haunted by the murder of his father, James Jordan, since 1993, but he didn't let the incident break his winning spirit.
Marshall University -- After a plane crash killed 37 members of the 1970 football team and members of the coaching staff at Marshall University in West Virginia, new coach Jack Lengyel had his work cut out for him in rebuilding the team from scratch. He never gave up, and to this day, people are inspired by his story. (And if you haven't seen We Are Marshall, make sure to add it to your list of must-see flicks. It's amazing.)
What other sports comebacks have inspired you?
Image via dpatricklewis/Flickr