Gibson County family selected as national Spirit of Sport Award recipient
A Gibson County family will be presented the 2022 National High School Spirit of Sport Award in June.
The Wyatt Family, a family of four from Medina, will be recognized June 29 at the National Federation of State High School Associations Summer Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
In January 2021, Chris and Carla Wyatt’s 14-year-old son, Brett, was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia after rushing him to the hospital one night. Doctors told the family that Brett’s leukemia was aggressive and would be particularly hard to treat. After being told that he may not survive, the family began a year-long journey to help Brett attack the disease.
The Wyatt family is well-known in the South Gibson High School community. At the time of diagnosis, Brett was playing basketball for Medina Middle School and Carla was teaching and a head coach in the middle of the South Gibson High School girls’ basketball season. Her husband, Chris, is a teacher and coach at South Gibson Middle School and oldest son, Bond, is a member of the South Gibson High School boys’ basketball team.
With the prognosis of a lengthy hospital stay for Brett, Carla stepped down from her coaching duties to be by his side. It was one of many sacrifices the family made to help Brett.
While Brett began treatment of chemotherapy and radiation, the community rallied to help the family. Assistant coaches covered practices and games, teachers covered classroom assignments and prayer chains were started.
Nearby Milan High School collected donations during a basketball game to help the family with expenses as they traveled back and forth from the hospital.
As Brett continued to receive treatment throughout the summer, doctors were not optimistic about a recovery. In fact, it was determined that he would need a bone marrow transplant to survive.
Brett’s older brother, Bond, was found to be a perfect match for the bone marrow transplant, a fortunate and unexpected turn of events since siblings usually only have a 25-percent chance of being a match. After finishing his junior year, Bond sacrificed a summer of camps, practices, games and time with friends to save his younger brother’s life.
Brett experienced two setbacks before his bone marrow transplant that pushed the procedure into the start of the school year. Finally, on August 13, the transplant was completed successfully and both brothers began their recoveries.
“I’m glad I could do it. I don’t see it as much as being a hero,” Bond told the Jackson Sun. “I just did the bare minimum —probably what anyone would do to help someone in their family. Especially, someone as close as their little brother.”
As Bond recovered from the procedure and was able to rejoin his friends and teammates back at South Gibson, Brett continued his recovery in the hospital through the fall. Finally, after 320 days in the hospital, he was able to go home on December 10.
Brett continues to battle the cancer and has regular doctor’s visits to monitor his recovery. But, it’s clear that he and his family will do whatever it takes to make sure he has a full recovery.
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was started in 2008. Including this year, 15 individuals and three teams have been chosen national award recipients.