Quaker Valley senior Keaton Grant
Keaton Grant feel like he had needles in his eyes, a symptom of the Uveitis that took turns torturing his eyes — left, then right — between the sixth and ninth grades.
“You’re really sensitive to light. Your eyes are always watering,” Grant said. “I took pretty strong pain medications, injections right into the eye. You’d see floating things in your peripherals.”
If that wasn’t bad enough, once Grant’s eyes started to get better his condition only got worse. He dealt with “unbearable pain” from Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis. Grant wasn’t able to play a complete soccer season for his first three years of high school. That he returned to start as a senior isn’t just an inspirational story — Gorman: Quaker Valley senior shows spirit — but one that earned him the John Challis Courage Award.
Grant credited Quaker Valley trainer Derek Clark for pushing him past the pain to keep him in shape during his rehabilitation. Grant, one of six children, also was motivated by the opportunity to play with his younger brother, Landon, this season. Not only did they play together, but both started on the same side of the field: Landon at left midfielder, Keaton at left back for the Quakers, who won on Senior Night and qualified for the WPIAL playoffs for the 33rd consecutive season and reached the Class AA semifinals.
“It definitely was rewarding,” Keaton said. “I wouldn’t say I’m a great soccer player. I’m definitely an average player. I didn’t hop onto the field and start. It took some hard work and dedication to earn that spot. This whole close to my senior year is all worth it.”
The John Challis Courage Award is handed out by the Midwestern Athletic Conference, a committee comprised of athletic directors and principals from Western Pennsylvania. Keaton Grant was nominated by Gene Klein, the legendary coach who led Quaker Valley to seven WPIAL soccer championships and six PIAA titles.
“It definitely means a lot to me that I was recognized to be something similar to John Challis,” said Keaton Grant, an honor roll student who will attend Grove City College. “He’s really inspirational, not only to me but other athletes who have problems. I was pretty honored to accept it. His courage will carry on.”
ATHLETES OF THE WEEK
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ON THE DIAMOND
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ON THE GRID
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