Providence senior makes remarkable comeback following brain surgery

Mark Millay has had quite the journey to an undefeated 6-0 record with the Providence Pioneers.
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 12:06 AM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Mark Millay has had quite the journey to an undefeated 6-0 record with the Providence Pioneers.

The senior right tackle experienced a significant roadblock on the basketball court during a rebounding drill in June 2022.

“It was just all a blur,” Millay said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. My parents didn’t know what was going to happen.”

“A kid goes up for a rebound, comes down, and elbows Mark in the head,” Providence High School Athletic Trainer Karly Baumann said. “There was something in my gut that said this was different.”

“The next thing I remember, I was in the trainer’s room, and the trainer was holding a cloth to my nose, and it was bleeding,” Millay said. “I had no recollection of what happened the past 15 to 20 minutes.”

Millay and his family were recommended by Baumann to go through with a CT scan following the incident.

“The CT scan showed that I didn’t have a brain bleed,” Millay said.

While the CT didn’t reveal the feared brain bleed, it did reveal there was unusual activity taking place in Millay’s brain.

“The radiologist found something abnormal,” Millay said.

The abnormality was confirmed in an MRI to be a brain tumor.

“That week was probably one of the hardest weeks I’ve had in my entire life,” Millay said.

“I have never seen Mark express his emotions like that,” Gavin Evans, the senior center on Providence’s football team said. “It was something different on another level. It is difficult knowing one of your brothers are not here with you balancing something bigger than football.”

“Me personally, I probably would have shut it down after that,” Providence Head Football Coach Daniel McDonald said.

On June 20th, Millay had brain surgery to remove the tumor.

With a relentless spirit, Millay made it a goal to get back on the field.

“He never wanted anything else other than to be back,” Baumann said.

“He was in and out of practice, still hanging around the guys being as positive as he could be,” Luke Kruer, a senior running back for Providence said.

On Sept. 22, 2022, Mark returned to practice.

“To see him come back from that has been miraculous,” said McDonald. “While we were practicing, he was running sprints, laps around the field.”

On Oct. 10, he returned to contact in practice.

“Slowly, I started getting ready, and I realized it is finally here, I am finally able to play again,” Millay said.

On Oct. 21, he returned to play in the first sectional game against Springs Valley, recording three tackles in the process.

“Over time, I realized that with the people supporting me, I was going to be able to get back to where I was,” Millay said. “Now we’re here and we’re doing good.”

Mark has spent his 2023 season healthy as a senior leader on the offensive line.

“What he has been through and when we’re going through practice and games, we know nothing can be as hard as what he endeavored,” Kruer said.

“He came back stronger,” McDonald said. “So to have him back and see him bounce back from that, it has been amazing.”

Millay said he is taking his mentality from battling the brain tumor to the classroom and football field.

“My sense of gratitude for all the coaches, my teammates always being there to pick me up after what just happened, it is just great,” Millay said.