Dean Pavlou was born on July 10th, 1999, weighing in at 8lbs 4oz. A baby that large, you might say, was born to do some heavy lifting, and lifting he would. The Closter, NJ native was lifting weights by the eighth grade, but the weight of his disability could not be measured by mere pounds. However, what was being measured was far more important—his heart and determination.
The soon-to-be Mitchell College junior was born at nine months but had a stroke
in utero. A month after Dean’s birth, the Pavlou family experienced a moment of awakening. His grandfather noticed that Dean was using his left hand for almost every activity he was participating in, and his Aunt Patty, a board-certified pediatrician, suggested Dean be seen by specialist Dr. Damon Fellman, a Pediatric Neurologist from Hackensack NJ, where the expert explained that Dean had a stroke before his birth— resulting in him being left hand dominant due to the weakness from his right side.
As a result, the 21-year-old walks with a limp and has a contracted hand. Despite his Perinatal Stroke diagnosis, his family was positive.
“It was very positive from their side because I could do all these things, and they considered themselves in this situation... lucky,” Dean stated.
The avid sports fan is referred to as Deano by many loved ones. The activities he would be able to participate in involved playing several sports such as baseball and football. This came as a surprise to others who did not know him because he was doing physical activities with only one hand.
What was being measured
was far more important — his heart and determination
The current Radio Mitchell host gives credit to two people for his excellent play, despite his differences. His father, Dr. Theo Pavlou, and his coach John Picarello. His father showed him clips of Jim Abbott, a former Major League Baseball player with only one hand who threw a no-hitter — to inspire Dean as well as let him know that he can do anything he desires. Coach Picarello put the Abbott glove switch into action and taught Dean how to improve the motion of throwing after removing his glove.
“The instructor that helped me the most was Coach Picarello, who worked for Northern Valley Baseball Academy (NVBA). He got me to the point where I had such a quick release that it didn’t even make a big difference,” commented Deano.
It was not only Dean’s fielding that was impressive to others. The First Baseman batted .290 his junior year. “People were amazed that I was hitting the ball probably further than anyone—I would hit doubles and home runs,” said Deano. ”They were amazed at what I was capable of doing playing baseball, even at a young age.”
Deano was not only a great player on the diamond, he was good on the gridiron, too. The defensive end said, “I made a nice tackle against an Indian Hills player to end the game and a great tackle against Dwight Morrow in a playoff game.”
Although he did not allow the weight of his disability to hold him back, it did weigh on his mind. It seemed as if his coaches held him back for being physically different because they still questioned the validity of his talent. Dean lives by having no regrets, saying, “I don’t like to look back,” therefore, he always tackles challenges with his A-game, with the support of his friends and family. As he continues to be on his A-game, his magnetic attitude attracts everyone he comes into contact with. Deano’s go-getter mindset will not be leaving him anytime soon, as he continues to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree at Mitchell College and marches forward to validate his place in the journalism field.