BY RUSSELL HUFFMAN
Texas Sports Health Medicine has announced that senior Cody Storrs has been named a recipient of the Ben Hogan Perseverance Award. The $10,000 award will be divided equally between Storrs to help fund his college education and Stephenville High School.
To say that Storrs “knows about perseverance” is an understatement much like comparing Mount Everest to an ant hill. His story is much like that of the legendary golfer Hogan who also battled to overcome injury and personal hardships.
Life has thrown Storrs a series of curveballs over the last year with a series of injuries and the death of his brother Jacob just two months ago.
Despite it, all Storrs has continued to be a leader on and off the sporting fields where he plays. He has reached out to help others and kept a smile on his face – even when that face was shattered.
Storrs physical struggles began at the start of last year’s baseball season when he suffered a concussion while sliding into second base. The second baseman attempting to complete a double play threw with a sidearm motion, and the baseball caught Storrs on the forehead and knocked him out cold.
Storrs described the moment in a letter to the Ben Hogan Perseverance Award committee.
“Two weeks of recovery later, I was back in action. Hoping things would turn around for me, I came back more determined than ever.”
Three games later, Storrs was at the plate and pumped because he was looking for an extra-base hit to get the Jackets a win. The pitch came in traveling in the middle 80s, and Storrs made the connection as it moved inside along the handle of his bat.
The resulting ricochet drove the ball into the right side of his face shattering bones and the dreams Storrs had for his junior season of baseball. Storrs had what is known as a ‘zygomatic fracture’ with a broken orbital bone, nose bones and the bone where his eyebrow is located all in pieces.
The doctor performing the surgery described the injury as “having to put together a puzzle where some of the pieces were missing.”
Just three days after the surgery Storrs was back in school and of course, getting some
Suddenly a guy who was used to doing everything wasn’t allowed to anything for eight long weeks. As football season got closer and closer, Storrs was worried he wasn’t going to able to put on a football helmet because his face was still swollen from the injury and surgery.
Head athletic trainer Debby Winder told Storrs not to worry, and there was still lots of time for his swelling to go down and because Storrs is a multi-sport athlete they needed to be looking for a plastic mask to protect his face during basketball.
Winder’s attitude always being “when” and not “if” she began a search for a mask that would need to be different than those that protect broken noses because Storrs main area worry was his right cheekbone.
Seeing Storrs for treatment daily and seeing how he had been handling the adversity placed in his path motivated Winder to nominate him for the Ben Hogan award.
Part of Winder’s nomination letter reads.
“This was a traumatic experience, but Cody says it was a time when he learned to appreciate trials and tribulations in his life. Cody went through some emotional turmoil because baseball is his favorite sport and what he loves playing. Cody took a positive approach and had a great attitude. He was there for his team and also had the opportunity to spend some quality time with his brother.”
Despite many internet searches nothing came up that seemed to be the right fit and for most people that would be hard to take. Storrs explained to committee members what kept his spirits up.
”One of my top motivations was my oldest brother Jacob. A couple of months before my surgery, Jacob, had undergone a bilateral lung transplant. That fall before my injury, we went to Dallas every weekend, and my mom had to take off her job to stay with him from September through January. There were times we thought we would lose him, but my brother fought mentally and physically to work his new lungs, so he could try to get back to a semi-normal lifestyle. His determination motivated me to become like him and taught me that no matter how bad I thought I had it, someone always has it worse.”
Sadly Jacob passed away on January 24, 2019.
Anyone who remembers this past basketball season will know that Winder eventually found what she was looking for which was a playing mask that had special moveable padding. The pads could be placed on different areas of the mask and wouldn’t cost $800-$1,000 like a specially made mask.
While all the searching was going on the swelling to Storrs’ face had begun to go down where he was eventually able to put on a football helmet, but now it was time to give his body a wakeup call. More than two full months of inactivity took its toll.
From being in
Sometimes rather than getting back up Storrs hit his knees instead.
“Through this injury, I had my ups and downs, not necessarily wanting to give up, but the fear of never playing again. The thought of quitting was so much more painful than the pain of getting
Storrs basketball coach Bill Brooks wrote the following in his recommendation of his senior athlete.
“Cody has displayed great sportsmanship while competing. He’s always quick to help up a teammate or opponent who has fallen down, a
Winder was of course very excited upon learning her nominee had won the award, and she found out via a telephone call from a producer that is scheduling a trip to Stephenville to produce a video about Storrs.
“I called Cody to ask him if he had heard anything about it and he had received a letter that morning,” Winder said. “He has missed seeing me that day and was waiting to surprise me because he wanted to be the one who told me.”
Storrs will be presented the Ben Hogan Perseverance Award during the upcoming Colonial Golf Tournament in May.