By Aaron Blankenship | Pictures courtesy of Scott Dring
Aidan Dring shocked and impressed his coaches and teammates by returning to the Dublin Coffman basketball staff’s beginning lineup in time for the Shamrocks’ season opener within the fall, lower than three months after present process mind surgical procedure.
Regardless of having his stamina severely weakened by 33 grueling radiation therapies that concluded simply days earlier than the beginning of his senior season, the capturing guard served as a lockdown defender and averaged 5 factors taking part in restricted minutes.
“It’s nonetheless superb to suppose again to what Aidan needed to struggle by simply to have the ability to return to our staff,” stated Coffman coach Jamey Collins, whose injury-riddled squad completed 9-12 general. “First, he needed to make it by a scary and tough surgical procedure. Then he had greater than a month of radiation that sapped him of his vitality and conditioning, and left him with a gasoline tank that obtained emptier faster than anybody else.
“However’s Aidan’s a particular younger man from a particular household, and he gave it each ounce of vitality he had day-after-day, and it was so fulfilling to see him come again and contribute the way in which he did.”
Feeling exhausted and annoyed on the conclusion of his senior season, Dring initially determined to give up pursuing his longtime dream of taking part in school basketball.
However after Collins satisfied him to rethink, Dring rapidly felt his aggressive itch return, and he agreed to renew visiting Division III school basketball applications.
It did not take lengthy for Dring to search out the appropriate house, as he made a verbal dedication to play basketball at Baldwin Wallace College on April 12.
“It’s loopy to look again at all the things that I’ve been by, and I’m actually grateful as a result of I wouldn’t have this chance with out the assistance of a number of totally different folks,” Dring stated. “It felt good to loosen up for some time as a result of I nonetheless wasn’t 100% (wholesome) by the top of my senior season.
“However I had an extended speak with Coach Collins that made me rethink my determination, and I spotted that I’ve been working towards this aim my complete life, and if I didn’t go for this now, I won’t be capable of do it later, and I used to be most likely going to remorse it.
“It feels good as a result of I’ve labored actually exhausting for this, and I deserve it.”
After Coffman’s basketball coaches and athletic director Duane Sheldon made it recognized that Dring was trying to play school basketball, he was invited to go to Baldwin Wallace in early April.
Sheldon was the top coach at Baldwin Wallace from 2008 to 2015, main the Yellow Jackets to a 98-83 document in seven seasons.
“My go to to Baldwin Wallace was a very cool expertise,” Dring stated. “It’s a very nice campus and I had lunch with their present gamers, and all the things there simply felt proper.
“I am actually grateful to my coaches, particularly Coach Collins, Coach Sheldon and (Coffman assistant coach) Tyrel Jackson, as a result of they taught me a lot in regards to the recreation and did a lot for me to get so far.”
Dring was recruited by Baldwin Wallace head coach Tom Heil, who has led the Yellow Jackets to a 101-70 document in seven seasons, after serving as Sheldon’s assistant for 5 seasons (2009-14).
Collins stated Heil is getting a gem of a pacesetter and multifaceted participant, after watching Dring steadily return to full well being over the summer season.
Not feeling drained from his radiation therapies, Dring has continued to regain his capacity to be a menacing defender who handles, distributes and shoots the ball with a deft contact.
“(Heil) noticed Aidan after we performed at Baldwin Wallace final summer season when he was at his greatest, and he felt like he’s taking a threat value taking,” Collins stated. “After some relaxation, Aidan seems to be like Aidan once more, and I really feel like Baldwin Wallace goes to get rewarded for his or her religion in him, as a result of he is among the finest younger males and teammates that anybody can have.
“At first, I used to be simply comfortable that Aidan has been in a position to fulfill his dream of taking part in school basketball. However once I’ve seen him play not too long ago and make a transfer on the court docket that exhibits his true capabilities, I now suppose that this son-of-a-gun has an opportunity to be a pleasant school participant who’s going to assist Baldwin Wallace . ”
Scott and Jenn Dring are extremely happy with their son, particularly after witnessing Aidan’s psychological and bodily toughness when his well being quickly declined late final summer season.
Aidan had excessive expectations for his senior season, after averaging 8.1 factors and being named second-team all-league and honorable point out all-district whereas main the Shamrocks to a 12-7 document as a junior.
Nevertheless, Dring started having dizzy spells and feeling nauseous in August, and he turned so sick on his method to a recruiting go to to Allegheny School in early September that he needed to abruptly return house and go to the hospital.
That is when an MRI revealed that he had a big ependymoma tumor rising close to the decrease a part of his mind stem. Ependymomas are uncommon cancerous tumors that begin within the mind or spinal twine.
Simply six days after the tumor was discovered, Dring had mind surgical procedure.
“After they advised me they’d discovered a mass on his mind, it felt like an out-of-body expertise, and I misplaced all management and began crying,” Jenn Dring stated. “Aidan was stoic, however he was frightened about dropping the life he knew and now not with the ability to play basketball.”
On Sept. 9, famend neurosurgeon Jeffrey Leonard eliminated the tumor from Dring’s mind throughout an eight-hour surgical procedure, as Scott and Jenn spent their 21st marriage ceremony anniversary praying for his or her son within the ready room.
Dring returned house simply three days after his surgical procedure, and he shocked his teammates and coaches when he began attending Coffman’s open-gym periods two days later.
Nevertheless, Dring then needed to endure 33 consecutive days of radiation remedy therapies, starting in late October and concluding on Nov. 24, which severely drained his vitality.
“What Aidan was in a position to accomplish by making it again to our staff was unreal, as a result of phrases can’t describe what it was like seeing him when he was at his lowest second (of restoration),” stated Ryan Lynn, who has been Aidan’s greatest pal since kindergarten and graduated from Coffman alongside him in late Could. “It was surreal having Aidan again on the court docket with us throughout our final open fitness center, as a result of not lengthy earlier than that, he couldn’t even stroll.
“Aidan didn’t have the season he hoped for, however he contributed, and he motivated us to need to get one of the best out of ourselves day-after-day. There have been instances when a few of us weren’t feeling properly as a result of we have been banged up or sick, however then we’d take a look at how exhausting Aidan was taking part in after having mind surgical procedure and he wasn’t even complaining in any respect, and that made all of us need to observe in his footsteps. ”
Dring acquired streams of letters and tweets with phrases of encouragement from numerous folks, together with school coaches, highschool coaches and gamers from different groups.
Ohio State males’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann despatched Aidan a video message wishing him a speedy restoration, and gifted his household with three tickets proper behind the Buckeyes’ bench for a house recreation.
A big neighborhood gathering was held in Aidan’s honor the day earlier than his surgical procedure, and his older brother, Tyler, drove house from the College of Cincinnati to help his household through the surgical procedure.
Liv Dring – a rising senior at Coffman and Aidan’s youthful sister – and his basketball teammates painted the massive rock outdoors Coffman’s soccer stadium white. College students from Coffman and Jerome had put inexperienced and gold handprints on the rock in a unified present of help for Aidan earlier than the Celtics and Shamrocks squared off in a soccer recreation on Sept. 10.
A number of Coffman soccer gamers put Aidan’s No. 23 uniform quantity on their ankle tape earlier than taking part in Jerome. And after the Shamrocks defeated the Celtics 49-42 in extra time, Coffman’s gamers posed for an image at midfield with Liv, who held up a big picture of her brother.
“All the central Ohio basketball neighborhood, and so many different folks, have been superb by this course of, and we’re very grateful for his or her help,” Jenn Dring stated.
Dring was cleared to start taking part in full-contact practices as soon as once more in early November, and he labored his means again into Coffman’s beginning lineup by the point the season opened.
Regardless of additionally being additional drained by a nagging virus that knocked him out of the beginning lineup for a number of video games in January simply as he was regaining his confidence and starting to hit his stride, Dring saved grinding away in follow and within the classroom.
Dring scored a career-high 18 factors within the Shamrocks’ 66-56 loss to Hilliard Bradley of their regular-season finale on Feb. 18, and he was honored with the Scholar Athlete award within the Ohio Capital Convention-Ohio Division for sustaining excessive tutorial and athletic requirements.
“I labored actually exhausting, however I by no means obtained my stamina all the way in which again,” Dring stated. “I had about 80 to 90 p.c of my earlier vitality degree for the primary two minutes of video games, however after that it will plummet to solely about 50 p.c, and I might really feel worn down as I continued working up and down the court docket. It was irritating.
“However my teammates gave me the vitality I wanted to maintain going, as a result of they trusted me to play and be a pacesetter, so it was 100% value the entire exhausting work I put in, as a result of I obtained to play with these guys and be part of that staff another time. ”
Dring plans to main in sports activities advertising, with the aim of incomes a spot in Baldwin Wallace’s beginning lineup.
Jenn Dring stated her son has already confirmed to be a serious success story, no matter what number of minutes he performs or what number of factors he scores for the Yellow Jackets.
“We’re so happy with Aidan,” Jenn stated. “The truth that he has achieved what he is achieved the final 10 months is astounding it doesn’t matter what he does at Baldwin Wallace. We’re very lucky as a result of some households may need crumbled beneath these circumstances, and I need to be sure that we do not ever lose the sense of gratitude for a way we have come by this and what now we have. ”
Collins stated he gained’t be shocked to see Aidan proceed to excel in basketball on the subsequent degree.
“Over the past three weeks, Aidan’s vitality has returned, and he’s beginning to resemble the all-league participant he was earlier than all of this occurred,” Collins stated. “It says rather a lot in regards to the character of Baldwin Wallace’s program that they might nonetheless see his potential, and now we’re all actually enthusiastic about his future.
“This was an emotional rollercoaster of a season. I could not have shed any extra tears for Aidan than I’ve already, however what’s particular is most of them have been for pleasure as an alternative of disappointment as a result of Aidan has continued to pursue and obtain his goals. ”