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Injury forced Orillia athlete to tackle a new pursuit (3 photos)

'My injury changed my life forever. It put a hard stop to all sports, and I started searching for something to do,' says Patrick Fogarty grad who has become an author

Orillia's John McMorran is transitioning from being a top athlete to a published author.

The 31-year-old Patrick Fogarty Catholic Secondary School graduate was a "gym rat" back in high school; he could be found in the weight room on a daily basis as he trained for a university football scholarship.

The former Huronia Stallions running back started playing football when he was 16.

“I used to do judo, and I really liked the contact and combat aspect of it, but it was sort of one versus one, and I really enjoyed team sports,” McMorran explained.

After trying soccer, McMorran found what he was looking for on the gridiron playing tackle football. He did reach his goal of making it to the university level as he made the cut to play for Western University.

“It was a much bigger pool of fish. With the Stallions I was the fastest and the strongest, but at Western the competition sort of ratcheted up. It was very eye-opening to see the level of play that university ball demands,” he said.

After three years' worth of football-related injuries, McMorran decided to hang up the cleats.

“I just couldn’t stay healthy. Any time I would make any headway on the roster I would get hurt, miss four weeks, and I just never put together a healthy good season. Football didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but that’s life,” he said.

“I transitioned over to track and field, and that’s how I finished off my undergrad and my university athletic career,” he explained.

While his university athletic career had come to an end, McMorran decided he wasn’t done with sports. Unfortunately, in 2014, while participating in a bobsled recruitment combine, McMorran badly injured his hip, paralyzing his mobility.

“I now walk on crutches. I’m sort of permanently disabled and not able to walk anymore,” he said.

“My injury changed my life forever. It put a hard stop to all sports, and I started searching for something to do while I pondered an extended period of time away from sports," he explained.

McMorran turned to one of his favourite hobbies which is reading; his love for literature made him consider turning the tables and he began to write pieces of his own.

He already has one book that is contracted for publication and should be released to the public this summer; it’s titled Crooked Taylor.

“It’s set in 1849 Texas, and it’s about the greatest outlaw of the age. His name is Crooked Taylor because he’s actually on crutches,” McMorran explained.

“It’s the revenge story of Crooked Taylor and his nemesis, who is a Texas Ranger. The story has the twist of Taylor being on crutches which makes him have to be very clever in the way he acts in terror across the west," said the new author.

McMorran’s inspiration for the book comes from his love of the western theme and history.

“I love reading westerns and I love reading about history which is where I got the idea to attempt a story in that environment."

McMorran says Crooked Taylor being on crutches is sort of inspired by his own story, but not totally.

“I try to be quite varied with different characters and I always wonder if I can put a character at a disadvantage and what they might have to do to overcome it,” he explained.

Digital and paper copies of Crooked Taylor will be available later this summer on Amazon.ca.

Away from writing McMorran is currently in the final two years of his PhD studies for kinesiology after completing his master’s degree at Wilfrid Laurier University.