Local DHS student brings home Bryant-Jordan Achievement Award

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 18, 2005

DEMOPOLIS – Demopolis High School has much to be proud of when it comes to their athletic programs, but nothing can compare to the fact that DHS holds two winners of the Bryant Jordan award (Chris Wasson for achievement and Clarke Kerby for scholastic).

The yearly award started in memory of Ralph Jordan and Bear Bryant and the prestigious award is given to athletes who have excelled in both academics and achievements.

Both Wasson and Kerby received the awards for 4A region 5, and Wasson went on to win the Bryant Jordan Achievement Award for the entire state of Alabama at the 4A level.

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“It felt good to win the award,” Wasson said.

“I was pretty shocked that I won it.

There are so many different kids out there that have done something extraordinary too.

I just felt honored to be the one they picked.”

Wasson has had to beat a lot of struggles that have been thrown his way, and it all began back when he was in the sixth grade.

“First, I was diagnosed with cancer in the sixth grade – that’s when it started,” Wasson said.

“I found out because I came out here every day to practice with the high school when I was little.

My sixth grade year, during the spring when I came out I couldn’t throw the ball.

And so I went to trainer Don and he told me to go have it checked out.

So I went up to Birmingham and they found a golf ball size tumor on my brain.

And they cut that out and I started chemotherapy.”

As Wasson began his chemo sessions, many would think it would bring him down both physically and mentally, but that wasn’t the case for this young athlete.

“Actually, I got really lucky with the chemo,” Wasson said.

“I had a great doctor and I never got sick from the treatment.

Every day, starting from even sixth grade, I can remember playing baseball throughout the season.

I never got sick and I always had my friends there to support me, even though I didn’t really do good.”

As time went on, Wasson slowly began to see improvement in his game.

“I think my strength and speed and energy started coming back when I was in about the eighth grade,” Wasson said.

“You could really notice a difference in running or really throwing it.

Because when you’re on chemo, it just feels like your legs keep pumping and pumping but they won’t move.

And so, about the eighth grade is when that started to change – came back and started getting strength back, adding weight, and just kept getting stronger.

Since then, the cancer has been in remission and I’ve been off of chemo.

Ever since I’ve been off chemo it’s only gotten better.”

As Wasson now prepares to look ahead to college as 2005 will ring in his senior year at DHS, he has high hopes of working in the medical field in college.

“I’m going to major in sports medicine at Troy,” Wasson said.

“I want to be a trainer at the high school or college level, or hopefully if I’m smart enough, be a surgeon – they get more money.”

But for Wasson, it’s not all about the money.

He’s beaten all odds, and he’s not about to let anything bring him down.

“I’m not planning on playing college ball,” Wasson said.

“I’m going to try to focus more on the school work, sports medicine, and just having fun.

I’ll still do intramural stuff and that will be fun.”