Paul and Joshua Frase, father and son, a story of courage and tenacity
Joshua Frase was born on February 2, 1995. At the time of birth, his muscles were so weak that he could flex only his right hand and his lungs could barely draw the air that he needed to breathe. His parents, Paul and Alison, were told that he may not survive the day.
When Joshua was three months old, a muscle biopsy revealed myotubular myopathy, a muscle disorder. Tragically, only 50% of the children born with Joshua’s disorder live to the age of two. Fewer still survive past their early school years.
Paul Frase knows what it means to be a survivor after an 11-year career in the NFL. The 6-foot-5 defensive lineman has endured his share of setbacks but has always found the courage to battle back. In his third pro-season with the Jets, Frase was diagnosed with Graves disease, a weakening condition that causes severe weight loss. But Frase refused to give up. His teammates honored him with the Ed Block Courage Award for his triumphant comeback.
In 1995 Frase was chosen in the expansion draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, just days after Joshua’s birth. But sadness ensued as Joshua was diagnosed with congenital myopathy just three months later. The struggle of a lifetime began. Later in that 1995 season, Frase received the Ed Block Courage award for an unprecedented second time in the 18-year history of the Award.
Frase needed no more trials, but he was dealt one more. Paul was traded to Green Bay, and after his eighth game as a Packer a herniated disk forced him to undergo back surgery. Remarkably, he recovered quickly enough to play in both playoff games and join his teammates at the 1998 SuperBowl.
To those who know him best like his high school football coach, Paul’s tenacity is no surprise. “It’s always been two steps forward, one step back, but he’s hung in there. He’s a survivor.”
Ask Paul who taught him the most about courage and he will tell you, ”my son.”