The 2018 SPORTS `N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year was announced at the Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals
For more than 35-years, SPORTS `N SPOKES has honored the accomplishments of young athletes with the SPORTS `N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year.
This year was no different as we officially announced this year’s winner at the closing ceremonies of the Adaptive Sports USA 2018 Junior Nationals.
Mississippi native Kelvin “KJ” Fields Jr. became the 36th junior recipient after being selected from our national nominations held earlier this year. Fields spent the week of July 22-27 at the Junior Nationals competing in a variety of Paralympic-style games including shot put, discus, javelin and track, winning medals and breaking many personal bests.
Fields competed with Lakeshore Foundation and raced into an impressive 46.72 in the 200-meter T53 U14 classification. In the field events he broke national records with a 9.45-meter discus throw, 10.73-meter javelin and 4.82-meter shot put.
For Fields, the SNS Junior Athlete of the Year is one of many honors bestowed upon the 12-year-old this year alone. He is an accomplished wheelchair basketball player, enjoys softball and is making the rounds in track and field. Fields spent the year competing at various events like the Angel City Games and the Endeavor Games to name a few, taking first-place in many of the track and field events.
When he was five-years-old, Fields was struck by a car crossing the road to visit his aunt and sustained a T8/T9 spinal-cord injury. Despite his injury, he has never looked back at the accident as anything but a new opportunity to accel at what he loves most … SPORTS!
“I was injured in May, got out of the hospital in July and by November I was on my first wheelchair basketball team,” says Fields. “I didn’t know anything about wheelchair sports, but adaptive sports changed my life. I do the same things now before I was injured … only now from a chair.”
Off the field, our junior athlete of the year keeps busy within his community and volunteers at the Covington County Nursing Home, Blair Baston Children’s Hospital and has spoken at a variety of local organizations and events in the hopes of creating more awareness for adaptive sports.
“As the 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Mississippi, KJ brings hope to pediatric patients and their families,” says Mississippi First Lady, Deborah Bryant. “His smile and positive attitude are contagious.”
On the field, Fields is always the good sportsman and often offers younger athletes his wisdom and guidance.
“My mom and dad always taught me to keep God first and never give up,” says Fields. “I never want to be seen as “the bad kid.” Someone who cusses, fusses with his mom or don’t listen to his parents. I try to treat people how I’d like to be treated and always keep a smile on my face. Even though I might be hurting inside, I always try to smile.”
Fields was presented an engraved silver platter during the closing ceremony from our 2017 Junior Athlete of the Year, Jason Robinson. Fields will also receive a one-year subscription to SPORTS `N SPOKES magazine and a new custom wheelchair courtesy of Box Wheelchairs.
If you know an outstanding young athlete nominate him or her for the 2019 SPORTS `N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year by visiting the SPORTS `N SPOKES website nomination page.