By Aaron Blankenship | Images 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 remedies that concluded simply days earlier than the beginning of his senior season, the capturing guard served as a lockdown defender and averaged 5 factors enjoying restricted minutes.
“It’s nonetheless wonderful to suppose again to what Aidan needed to combat by simply to have the ability to return to our staff,” mentioned Coffman coach Jamey Collins, whose injury-riddled squad completed 9-12 total. “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 power and conditioning, and left him with a gasoline tank that received emptier faster than anybody else.
“However’s Aidan’s a particular younger man from a particular household, and he gave it each ounce of power he had day by 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 enjoying school basketball.
However after Collins satisfied him to rethink, Dring shortly 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 proper dwelling, 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 pieces 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 variety of completely different individuals,” Dring mentioned. “It felt good to calm down for some time as a result of I nonetheless wasn’t one hundred pc (wholesome) by the top of my senior season.
“However I had a protracted speak with Coach Collins that made me rethink my determination, and I spotted that I’ve been working towards this purpose my total life, and if I didn’t go for this now, I won’t be capable to do it later, and I used to be in all probability going to remorse it.
“It feels good as a result of I’ve labored actually laborious for this, and I deserve it.”
After Coffman’s basketball coaches and athletic director Duane Sheldon made it identified that Dring was seeking 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 report in seven seasons.
“My go to to Baldwin Wallace was a very cool expertise,” Dring mentioned. “It’s a very nice campus and I had lunch with their present gamers, and all the pieces 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 concerning 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 report in seven seasons, after serving as Sheldon’s assistant for 5 seasons (2009-14).
Collins mentioned Heil is getting a gem of a frontrunner and multifaceted participant, after watching Dring progressively return to full well being over the summer season.
Now not feeling drained from his radiation remedies, 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 danger value taking,” Collins mentioned. “After some relaxation, Aidan seems 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 the most effective younger males and teammates that anybody can have.
“At first, I used to be simply completely satisfied that Aidan has been in a position to fulfill his dream of enjoying school basketball. However once I’ve seen him play lately and make a transfer on the court docket that reveals 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 report as a junior.
Nonetheless, Dring started having dizzy spells and feeling nauseous in August, and he turned so unwell on his technique to a recruiting go to to Allegheny School in early September that he needed to abruptly return dwelling 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 mentioned. “Aidan was stoic, however he was frightened about dropping the life he knew and 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 dwelling 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.
Nonetheless, Dring then needed to endure 33 consecutive days of radiation remedy remedies, starting in late October and concluding on Nov. 24, which severely drained his power.
“What Aidan was in a position to accomplish by making it again to our staff was unreal, as a result of phrases cannot describe what it was like seeing him when he was at his lowest second (of restoration),” mentioned Ryan Lynn, who has been Aidan’s greatest pal since kindergarten and graduated from Coffman alongside him in late Might. “It was surreal having Aidan again on the court docket with us throughout our final open gymnasium, 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 the most effective out of ourselves day by day. There have been instances when a few of us weren’t feeling nicely as a result of we had been banged up or sick, however then we’d have a look at how laborious Aidan was enjoying 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 obtained streams of letters and tweets with phrases of encouragement from numerous individuals, 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 dwelling from the College of Cincinnati to assist his household through the surgical procedure.
Liv Dring – a rising senior at Coffman and Aidan’s youthful sister – and his basketball teammates painted the big rock exterior 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 assist 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 enjoying 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 photograph of her brother.
“Your complete central Ohio basketball neighborhood, and so many different individuals, had been wonderful by this course of, and we’re very grateful for his or her assist,” Jenn Dring mentioned.
Dring was cleared to start collaborating in full-contact practices as soon as once more in early November, and he labored his method 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 stored 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 educational and athletic requirements.
“I labored actually laborious, however I by no means received my stamina all the way in which again,” Dring mentioned. “I had about 80 to 90 p.c of my earlier power stage for the primary two minutes of video games, however after that it will plummet to solely about 50 p.c, and I’d really feel worn down as I continued operating up and down the court docket. It was irritating.
“However my teammates gave me the power I wanted to maintain going, as a result of they trusted me to play and be a frontrunner, so it was one hundred pc value the entire laborious work I put in, as a result of I received to play with these guys and be part of that staff yet another time. ”
Dring plans to main in sports activities advertising, with the purpose of incomes a spot in Baldwin Wallace’s beginning lineup.
Jenn Dring mentioned 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 mentioned. “The truth that he has completed what he is completed 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 make sure that we do not ever lose the sense of gratitude for the way we have come by this and what we have now. ”
Collins mentioned he received’t be shocked to see Aidan proceed to excel in basketball on the subsequent stage.
“Over the last three weeks, Aidan’s power has returned, and he is beginning to resemble the all-league participant he was earlier than all this occurred,” Collins mentioned. “It says quite a bit concerning 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 a substitute of unhappiness as a result of Aidan has continued to pursue and obtain his goals. ”