he’s come a long way
There was a time when a successful high school sports career wasn’t a high probability for Kyle Sherwood.
Just being able to walk and enjoy an active life like any other youngster was a much higher priority as Sherwood faced the ordeal of major surgeries after being born with two club feet.
That’s a distant memory, but certainly not forgotten by the spring graduate of Scott Community High School as he prepares for his final state competition.
It’s been an exceptional year for the 18-year-old who was a two-year-starter on the offensive line for SCHS teams that posted a combined 21-2 record over the past two seasons. He was also fifth in the 220-pound division at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament as a senior and added a state powerlifting championship.
Now Sherwood is closing out his high school career by seeking state medals in two events and hopes he can contribute to a possible state title in the Class 3A track and field championships this weekend. Sherwood has qualified in the shot put, where he is currently the ninth seed with a regional toss of 47-8 1/4, and in the discus where his career best of 154-4 is seventh best among the 16 qualifiers.
That’s an improbable and remarkable accomplishment for an athlete who spent the first three years of his life in Shriner’s hospitals where he had to undergo three surgeries - the first when he was only threemonths old.
When he was six-years-old, Sherwood began playing baseball and he hasn’t slowed down since.
“When I was a lot younger and first started competing in sports I didn’t think much about the surgeries and how they changed my life. But as I’ve gotten older, I’m a lot more thankful to the Shriners and what they made possible,” says Sherwood. “I wouldn’t have had any of these experiences if it wasn’t for them.”
Those experiences almost never occurred.
When he was just threeyears-old, Sherwood underwent what was the most serious of his three surgical procedures. At that time, surgeons “came as close to an amputation as you can get,” said his mother, Suzanne, of the nine-hour operation.
Not one to be held back, just six months later Sherwood was getting around so well that his casts had been worn down and the heels of his feet were visible. A short-term solution was to duct tape his heels, his parents recall.
And while Sherwood has enjoyed considerable success in sports, it hasn’t always been easy.
For several years when he would return to the Shriners Hospital for follow-up exams, doctors would remind Sherwood of the importance of stretching exercises for his feet in order to maintain muscle flexibility.
It was explained to Sherwood by a doctor that his feet aren’t as flexible as normal feet as a result of the surgeries.
“That’s why stretching is so important,” he says. “That’s also why the muscle and bone can only take so much stress.”
“When I was younger I didn’t take care of my feet like I needed to, but it wasn’t a big issue at the time,” Sherwood notes. “As I got older and I was on my feet a lot more during competition I was dealing with more pain. I learned to stretch (my feet) a lot more and to ice them every day after football practice and in other sports.”
After some workouts and games, Sherwood says the stress on his feet was pretty extreme.
While acknowledging there’s a limit to what he can do at times, Sherwood credits sports with adding to his strength and ability to maintain an active life. And the pain has been a small price to pay for the success he’s enjoyed and the opportunity to be with his teammates.
“I can’t imagine what it would have been like not being in sports. I suppose my grades might have been a touch better,” he adds with a grin.
Sherwood’s love for sports isn’t likely to end with state track this weekend. He’s hoping to possibly compete in track or wrestling at Pratt Community College.