Five local student-athletes have been named for the All-Resilient Team by Tom Leach. Check out the full list and past winners at tomleachky.com/all-resilient-team. Biographies provided.
Kody Brewer – Pendleton County
Playing major league baseball was Koby’s dream as a youngster but at age eight, those hopes were dashed with the news that he suffered from Congenital Long QT Syndrome. It’s an abnormality of the heart’s electrical system and it’s life-threatening when one’s heart is exerted. Low potassium or calcium levels, amusement park rides, even a “scare” could ignite this condition so playing competitive sports were considered out of the question because of the excitement component. Enter Koby’s grandfather. He was a longtime bowler and his hunch that this was a sport in which one could more easily regulate the heart rate proved correct. “Pap” taught Koby how to bowl and Koby became one of the state’s top bowlers at Pendleton County High School. He was the state runner up as a senior and set school records for high game (279) and most pins in a season–and he helped his team to consecutive regional titles. To top it offer, Koby earned a scholarship to bowl at The University of The Cumberlands.
Ava Coleman – Scott
Ava had to overcome two ACL tears in her left knee, first as a freshman and then as a junior at Scott High, forcing her to miss two seasons on the basketball court and her senior year on the soccer field. Her doctor told her she might never play sports again but through a strong mindset and a lot of hard work, she made it back for her senior season with the basketball team, serving as a captain. She was also a captain for her soccer team and a top 25 assist leader, earning All-10th Region honors in 2020 and all 37th District in both that sport and basketball. She did all of this plus was a standout in the classroom, with numerous honors including Governor’s Scholar.
Macey Shelton – Bourbon County
To go into detail on Macey’s list of injuries would take more space than this program provides us. Just after birth, she was diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome, which can cause one’s heart to go into cardiac arrest when the heart rate is elevated. It’s a malady that Macey has been able to control. At age three, however, she broke a leg and that led to a diagnosis of scoliosis and brittle bone disease. This led to six different fractures of femurs in both legs, three foot fractures, a broken knuckle and multiple surgeries. There were also constant infusions designed to increase her bone density. All of this would frequently derail Macey’s athletic career but she was determined that it would not be ended. She became a five-year dance team member. She was chosen as captain as a senior and earned all-america recognition. She also competed in archery and golf and earned honorable mention academic all-state honors for all four years of high school. Now, she aspires to a career as a pediatric orthopedic surgical assistant.
Clayton Thompson – Bracken County
The story on Clayton on Cincinnati TV station WCPO’s website said it best–“the players on the Bracken County High School baseball dedicated their season to a teammate facing life-threatening challenges. They never imagined that same teammate would later save their season.” Thompson delivered the game-tying hit that paved the way for a 39th District Tournament win that enabled the Polar Bears to qualify for the 10th Region Tournament. This came just two months after he was diagnosed with Guillan-Barre Syndrome, a rare disorder in which the immune system attacks the nervous system and leads to paralysis unless treatment is successful. For a time, Clayton could not talk, walk or even make facial expressions. Fortunately the treatment worked and he beat the projected six-month window for returning to the diamond.
Robbie Verst – Bishop Brossart
Adversity has been a constant companion during Robbie’s high school sports career at Bishop Brossart. As a freshman, a broken back sidelined him for that entire school year. As a sophomore, broken bones in both feet derailed his return to the basketball team and just after making it back for baseball season, he suffered a season-ending wrist injury. As a junior, torn ligaments in a knee ended his high school basketball career. As a senior, Robbie decided to try and make the golf team despite never having played the sport. He succeeded, shot several rounds in the low 40s and helped his team win a 10th Region All ‘A’ title. Robbie then developed a herniated disc but he overcame that, too, and returned to the baseball diamond and got a hit and stole a base in his first game back
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