From surgery to success, De La Salle Alum Michael Brdar (‘12) is an epitome of Spartan strength. After getting injured in his junior year at De La Salle, Brdar made the decision to rehab his shoulder instead of having surgery so he could play the rest of his junior year and senior years. This was not Michael’s first injury. He had suffered a fractured skull as a 5th grader, two concussions before high school, a fractured back between freshman and sophomore year, and when he was 9, he needed to have heart surgery. Injuries had been a constant for Brdar. Despite the seemingly obvious signs to find a passion in a safer environment, Brdar decided to continue his baseball career at Diablo Valley College, a local community college.
In a year, however, he dove for a ball and found himself injured yet again and was looking at surgery and a year of rehabilitation. That didn’t stop him. After a surgery to repair his torn labrum, a second operation to mend the TFCC tear in his wrist and countless hours of physical therapy and determination, he got back on the field. His hard work did not go unnoticed, as he later was recruited to play baseball at the University of Michigan.
After his first season of Fall Ball, Michael was slated to be the starting short shop for the Wolverines. He played well but wanted to be better. In the off season, Michael became faster, stronger, and was named All-American for Strength and Conditioning at University of Michigan.
Brdar had a breakout season his senior year. It was the first full season where his body was feeling as strong as his passion and love for the game. He played every inning of every game for the University of Michigan. He led the team in hits, attributing that to another De La Salle alum, Nick Schnabel ‘96, the assistant coach at Michigan. He dominated at shortstop (.988 fielding percentage) and had many unbelievable web gem plays, some making ESPN’s Top Plays of the Week. He was named All Big Ten First Team, ABCA/Rawlings All Mideast Region 2nd Team. He was named a semifinalist for the 2017 Brooks-Wallace award, which honors the nations top shortstops. Just recently, he was named MVP of his team, as well as Best Defensive Player.
In June of 2017, Brdar was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and started his career as a Minor League Baseball player. This seemed like a dream come true, especially after all of his injuries. Michael embraced his first summer of minor leagues.
Shockingly to some, he retired after one short season. In December, he was given the opportunity to work with the University of Michigan Baseball staff as Director of Program Development. As Brdar said, “This was an opportunity I could not pass up.” Michael is now fulfilling his dream of someday being a Division 1 baseball coach. He is on his way and, given his work ethic, determination, knowledge and love of the game, you can expect to see him in the coaching ranks in the future.