“He gives 110 percent on everything that he does, is a member of the National Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society and we are very proud of him.”
While the surgery was difficult to endure, losing a year of high school basketball was tougher to handle for a kid who lived on the court.
“It wasn’t easy,” Surgent said.
“I wanted to keep on going and playing, but I knew that my heart wasn’t fully recovered, so I couldn’t. I still went to the games, though, and supported the team.”
His dedication to the sport and Amesbury, despite being kept off the court, was a focal point in his nomination for the award.
“He never complains,” Connelly’s nomination letter continued.
“He’s always at practice and games, and is the true embodiment of the phrase ‘team player.’”
While Surgent exhibited strong courage while fighting through the tough times, they didn’t cease upon his exit from the hospital. In fact, they were just beginning.
Playing basketball this year presented him with an array of emotional challenges: managing his heart condition while also playing with the intensity and fearlessness that varsity basketball demands.
“He played a little scared and nervous because he had all of that hanging over his head,” said Amesbury head coach Tom Comeau. “A funny story from this year came when one of our (junior varsity) kids was filming one of our games and doing commentary. Casey took a pretty good hit and the kid said, ‘Ah, don’t worry about it; he’s tough. He has a bionic heart now.’”
Though timid at first, Surgent worked to ensure that he was doing his part as well as he could.
His presence alone was something that the Amesbury program had missed.
“It was great to have him back,” Comeau said.