Portland State's Boland protects his future, Coach Barnum does t - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland State's Boland protects his future, Coach Barnum does too

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He was a star quarterback at Portland's Parkrose High School, the Offensive Player of the Year in the Northwest Oregon Conference during his senior season with the Broncos, as Jon Boland became the first in his family to go college. 

Now with his playing days behind him, the redshirt freshman is keeping his head and protecting his future without ever taking a snap for the Vikings. 

"Football was everything. Football was life. That was who I was," said Boland. “It brought out a different person in me to where I could go to practice or go to a game and get away from girls, get away my parents, get away from honestly, just the world." 

Now this is life after football for the 19-year-old sophomore at Portland State University. 

"It's life," he said. "I knew it was going to come to an end, not this soon, but I knew it would come to an end sometime in my life, but it just came a little bit too early." 

Multiple concussions – four sustained while starring at quarterback for Parkrose High School and one in college – have ended Boland's playing career after doctors told him it would be a big risk to return to the field. 

"My symptoms that I have had over the years … I do get headaches, concentrating is a little harder," he said. "Vision on my left side, since I have gotten hit on my left side about three times, it fades sometimes here and there. I just had to make the decision which was to hang it up." 

Boland announced the sudden change in his life in a note on Twitter earlier this month and the outpouring of support has been beyond his belief. 

"When I had to hang up the cleats, everybody showed me love and I just couldn't believe how many people cared for me and cared that I lost my love, my passion," he said. 

The first recruit under Bruce Barnum will continue to be cared for as a member of the Viking family.

"Love his family, they are just diamonds. So to see this happen … glass half-full," said Barnum. "The kid is going to be successful. He will be outdoing you and I." 

Barny Ball is keeping his promise by keeping Boland on scholarship to complete his education in the Park Blocks. 

"I went to Barny and I said, 'Barnum, there is nothing else I will do. I will be out in the street. I'm not going to go to college because this is what got me here, ball,' said Boland. "He said, 'Oh, I'm not just going to let you go out in the streets.' I was like, 'Thanks Barnum, that's real.'" 

Barnum is the real thing. 

"It was just the right decision," Barnum said. "Do we have the money for it? No. Can I afford to give scholarships to guys that aren't going to play? No. That's FCS football but I made his family a promise and I made him a promise and I am going to follow through with it." 

Boland said, "He told me he'll keep me on scholarship but I just have to be his ... 'slappy' if you want to say, as he says." 

"He'll be busy," said Barnum. "More in the offseason than now with recruiting, helping us with recruiting. He is a salesman. He could sell oceanfront property in Arizona … His priority right now is getting the grades."

Barnum added, "You only have once chance at this, Krup. I finally have my idea. Right or wrong, I am going to do what I think is right. I am not going to have any regrets when I leave here. If I would have just kicked him in the streets, I would have had regrets. I wouldn't have been able to talk to another recruit. It has to be the foundation of this place."  

The son of a preacher is deeper in faith, thankful for what he has, not what he doesn't. 

"There is a stereotype where the preacher's kid is the worst, or bad, you know what I mean?" said Boland. "He just called my name and I had to answer. He'll take away things that you love, football, but I know he has something in plan or in store for me." 

"No matter the level when you hear these kinds of stories from high school to college to the pros, some have regrets about playing, some say, no way, what do you say?" asked Fox 12's Nick Krupke. 

"Honestly, I can't even answer that right now," replied Boland. "It hurts not to be on the field. It breaks my heart every day I go out there to watch the boys practice but I have to stay positive about it, you know? I can't just go down in the dirt and just take myself out of the world. My life will go on. I have to do something so I can't just sit down and wait for someone to get me, I need to go out and do whatever I need to do." 

Boland has increased his workload in school to major in criminality and criminal justice to one day be a juvenile correction officer, and maybe even coach back at his alma mater of Parkrose. 

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