Former All-American Walsh returns to compete
Matt Gad – Sports Writer
Collin Walsh, a 2008 graduate and a former member of the cross country and
track and field teams, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three months after suffering his
attack in April 2016.
This past Saturday he competed in the 55 meters, with his crutches, at the annual James Barber
and Wilton Wright Alumni Meet, which serves as a kick-off to the year’s indoor track season
that begins next month, at home, with the Elm City Challenge Dec. 1.
“I was very healthy; I had no reason to believe I was sick,” Walsh said. “April 14  I
resigned from the Milford Police and April 18 I was set to start a new job, also in law
enforcement, at the federal level. I was to be a special agent within the State Department’s
Diplomatic Security Service … the job itself entailed everything from emergency response in the
event of a terror attacks to our embassies and consulates overseas, to full-time protection of the
Secretary of State and other visiting foreign dignitaries.”
Walsh, who graduated from Notre Dame High School, of West Haven, Conn, was All-New
England in the 1,000 meters and 4×800 meter relay in his senior campaign. He was also a
member of the NE10 All-Academic First Team.
When his former coach, Jack Maloney, who retired from Southern the same year Walsh
graduated, heard about the life-changing news from his former student-athlete it affected him
Said Maloney: “When I received the news I went over to visit, and I went two more times after
that, and I gave the news to (former) Coach Wright, who came with me, and (former) Coach
Barber; it was devastating. But to see [Walsh in the 55 meters] it’s a God-send.”
When his coaches first visited him, Walsh could not move his body from his hips down.
Maloney said Walsh worked with medical staff locally and then over in India, where he and his
wife spent an “extensive amount of time” as he worked to regain some strength.
He said the love from Walsh’s wife is “a great example of the good things in life.”
The current cross country and track and field coaching staff honored Walsh by naming the
alumni meet’s one mile race “The Collin Walsh Men’s Mile.” And 2017 was the year Walsh
decided he wanted to compete in the alumni meet himself.
“He had asked me what event he should do and I said the 55 would be perfect because I didn’t
know how long he had gone in therapy and obviously the 200 or 300 wouldn’t work,” current
head coach John Wallin said. “And I think that’s what he was gonna suggest would be the right
distance for him.”
While Walsh embarked on his 55-meter race, alumni, current student-athletes, spectators and
coaches alike cheered him on triumphantly.
“As I started gaining more function I decided I wanted to come out and I reached out to [Coach
Wallin] and he suggested the 55 and I happily agreed,” Walsh said. “It’s an accomplishment of
unimaginable proportions because I was supposed to remain paralyzed forever.”
Photo Courtesy: SCSU Athletic Communications