WNBA Legend Tamika Catchings To Serve as Keynote Speaker at 2017 Brady Sports Achievement Awards and Dinner
- The 2017 Brady Sports Achievement Awards and Dinner, which is hosted by the Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation and the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA), will be held on Thursday, April 20. Tamika Catchings, who is universally regarded as one of the greatest players in Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) history, will serve as the keynote speaker.
- Former Columbus North High School basketball standout Josh Speidel, who suffered severe brain injuries following a tragic car crash in February 2015, is one of four student athletes who will be presented with a Brady Comeback Award this year.
- Catchings will be awarded with the Brady Lifetime Achievement Award, along with former Purdue University and National Football League (NFL) player Leroy Keyes.
Four brave student athletes who have distinguished themselves by overcoming adversity and injuries will be recognized at this year’s 12th Annual Brady Sports Achievement Awards and Dinner, along with the two winners of the Brady Lifetime Achievement Award.
The event, which is hosted by the Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation and the Indiana High School Athletic Association, will be held on Thursday, April 20 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, located in downtown Indianapolis next to the Embassy Suites Hotel and across from the Hyatt Regency Hotel. The Ballroom’s main entrance is located on Washington Street.
Indiana Fever legend and Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings will serve as the keynote speaker. The event includes an opening reception, silent auction and dinner. Physicians Rehab Solution is the presenting sponsor and WTHR-13 in Indianapolis is the media sponsor for the event. Rich Nye, sports reporter at WTHR-13, will serve as the emcee.
Brady Comeback Awards
“An athlete with every reason to quit found every reason to compete.”
Mike Armstrong, the Perry Meridian High School cross country coach, couldn’t have put it any better.
Each year, the Brady Comeback Awards recognize four high school or college student athletes – two males and two females – who have sustained injuries or faced adversity yet returned and excelled beyond expectations in their respective sport.
This year’s recipients include former Columbus North High School basketball star Josh Speidel, Franklin Community High School three-sport athlete Blake Dicken, Perry Meridian High School cross country runner Caroline Kavanaugh and Taylor University volleyball player Kayla Springer. Each athlete will be presented with a $1,000 scholarship.
Speidel had committed to the University of Vermont to play basketball before a severe car crash changed everything in February 2015. Instead of shooting hoops and dunking baskets, Speidel was learning how to walk and talk again due to a brain injury sustained in the crash. Now, more than two years after the accident left him in critical condition, Speidel is at the University of Vermont as a key member of the Catamounts basketball team. The 6-foot-7 Indiana standout travels and practices with the team thanks to the University of Vermont honoring his original scholarship and the NCAA granting Speidel an exemption from using up his eligibility while on the team.
“We’ve won 21 games in a row,” said University of Vermont basketball coach John Becker. “We knew we were going to be good, but this season is magical and I think Josh has something to do with that magic.”
Dicken, who shined on the basketball court, baseball diamond and football field all while maintaining a 3.50 GPA, also suffered from injuries sustained in a traumatic car crash. He suffered from a brain injury and neck fracture, but was back to participating in all three sports two years later.
Springer was diagnosed with a Stage 3 case of Spondylolisthesis, a severe condition in which a vertebra slides over the bone below it causing severe pain and numbness in one or both legs. After receiving the diagnosis following her commitment to play volleyball at Taylor University, she underwent a spinal fusion surgery. Just as she was regaining her strength back, she was involved in a car crash that set her back again. However, Springer is now thriving on the volleyball team and will graduate with honors and a Sports Marketing degree this spring.
Kavanaugh was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in fourth grade, but that didn’t stop the teen from discovering a passion for running. She joined the cross country team at Perry Meridian High School, but in 2015 doctors told Kavanaugh her tumor was growing. She underwent chemotherapy and later, surgery, but that didn’t stop her from running. Kavanaugh’s coaches said she never missed a workout and never once complained. She currently ranks ninth in her class of 600 students and is part of the National Honor Society and the vice president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Brady Lifetime Achievement Award
Also being presented at the event are the winners of the Brady Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes individuals who, through their connection to Indiana, have made outstanding contributions in the field of athletics, and have consistently demonstrated the ideals of sportsmanship over many seasons during their lives.
Indiana Fever legend and Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings is the winner of the 2017 Brady Lifetime Achievement Award. Universally regarded as one of the greatest players in WNBA history, Catchings was named the 2011 WNBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and led the Fever to the league championship in 2012. Catchings will also serve as the keynote speaker during the awards dinner.
Leroy Keyes, former Purdue University and National Football League (NFL) standout, will also be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Keyes was named the Big Ten MVP in 1967 after helping Purdue win the Rose Bowl against University of Southern California (USC). Following his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, he returned to Purdue University as an assistant football coach.
Both the Brady Comeback and Brady Lifetime Achievement Awards are named after Dr. Thomas A. Brady, known as “the father of sports medicine in Central Indiana.” Dr. Brady developed many innovative techniques for returning athletes to their sports quickly and safely, along with establishing a walk-in clinic in the basement of Methodist Hospital that eventually grew into Methodist Sports Medicine.
C. Eugene Cato Memorial Scholarship
Deserving student athletes will also be award with the C. Eugene Cato Memorial Scholarship at the awards banquet. The Centennial Scholarship program was initiated in 2003-04 as a part of the IHSAA’s centennial celebration. This year, the program has been renamed in tribute to former IHSAA Commissioner C. Eugene Cato, who served from 1983-95. His passion for athletics and his belief in the intrinsic value of athletic competition on the formation of a child’s character enabled him to positively impact generations of young men and women with his well-known “Firm, Fair, and Friendly” approach to caring for others. Cato passed away in October of 2008.
For more information about the 2017 Brady Awards, please click here. If you can’t make it to this year’s awards dinner, but still want to contribute, please click here.
About Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation
A separately incorporated not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Methodist Sports Medicine Research and Education Foundation embraces a crucial long-term role in the advancement of orthopedic medicine.
With generous contributions from donors, we strive to support and enhance the research, educational, outreach and care activities that the surgeons and physicians of Methodist Sports Medicine undertake on an ongoing basis.
Overall, the foundation’s goal is to support the practice’s mission: “Leading advances in orthopedic care and sports medicine through research and education to improve patients’ quality of life.”