Former Braves catcher uses service dog to cope with brain injury effects


    Service dog Scarlet/Miles Garrett (WGXA)

    NEWNAN, Ga. -- Former Atlanta Braves All-Star Catcher Johnny Estrada had to retire from baseball at age 32 due to injuries.

    He later found a bigger problem going on -- but that problem helped him find a wonderful solution: his service dog Scarlet.

    "Initially I had irritability, anger issue problems -- didn't know what was wrong with me," Estrada says. "Turns out I had brain damage from concussions. So my idea -- after making a few bad decisions in public -- was to get myself a service dog and see if she could calm my mood sometimes.

    "She's my best friend. She goes everywhere with me. I can't imagine a day without her."

    Estrada got Scarlet two years ago to help him with his issues. He has a message for anyone who might need the help of mans best friend.

    "Sometimes I'm out in public and I have Scarlet with me and I'm normal," Estrada said. "I'd like people to know that I'm normal, but in certain instances, not all the disabilities are visual. You may think that someone's OK and maybe they don't need a service dog, but everybody's got something going on. You may not know the whole story."

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