KNOXVILLE (Boys & Girls Club) - Athlete Tyler Hicks, who suffered a devastating brain trauma injury in a car wreck as a sophomore only to bounce back and have a terrific senior season as Anderson County's quarterback, has been selected the initial winner of the Will McKamey Spirit Award as picked by the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee.
McKamey, a star running back at Grace Christian Academy, died in March after a practice at the Naval Academy.
Hicks barely survived the car accident. He said he doesn't remember anything about the wreck. He was unable to play football his junior season, but as a senior, he accumulated over 3,500 total yards, with more than 1,000 rushing.
"He was the best quarterback in East Tennessee (in 2013),'' said Anderson County coach Dave Gillum. ``He's agile and athletic. He's the best competitor I've ever coached.''
Hicks suffered memory loss and had to be taught how to walk and talk again due to the brain trauma, Gillum said.
In Anderson County's last regular season game, Hicks injured his right hand but didn't tell anyone.
He played three playoff games before having it X-rayed. Tests revealed a broken wrist and thumb.
Hicks, an ace pitcher, missed part of baseball season due to the injury, but when he returned, he batted left-handed – he's a right-handed hitter -- and laid down two bunts that scored runs in his first game back.
Hicks, who is 5-11, 185 and runs a 4.8 in the 40-yard dash, was able to maintain a 3.5 grade-point average despite his personal setback. He has signed to play baseball at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin.
Hicks will be honored along with 10 inductees at the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame banquet Thursday, July 24, at the Knoxville Convention Center. For tickets, call 865-232-1206.