Testing his Faith: Gems' Campbell relied on baseball, family when he needed it the most
Published: July 27, 2018
QUINCY -- Spending this summer with the Quincy Gems was good for Aaron Campbell.
It was the first time the to-be senior at Austin Peay University got a chance to play summer collegiate baseball. He did well, batting .300 in 100 at-bats. However, an arm injury he suffered during the spring came back to bother him right as the Gems are in the middle of a heated race for two playoff spots in the West Division.
Nonetheless, Campbell simply enjoyed playing baseball for the first time in a while.
"It was a stress-free summer," he said. "I got to meet a lot of new guys. They took me in like family, and it was one of the best summers I've had. No doubt."
That wasn't the case in the last couple of years.
Instead of focusing on enjoying the game and improving, Campbell used baseball as a way to distract himself from life off the field.
In a span of a little more than a year, Campbell and his family experienced hardships that tested his faith. Baseball became a way to escape those trials, even if it was for only a few hours at a time.
He's become a stronger person and developed closer bonds with his brother, Austin, and his dad, Alan.
He also has another strong relationship, one is more special to him.
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Brother's Strength: Haley fueled by loss of sibling as he chases state title
Published: Jan. 29, 2018
QUINCY -- The anxiety built as Zach Haley sat with his family in the waiting room of the hospital.
Haley just watched his older brother, Jeffrey, suffer a gruesome freak injury to his left arm while wrestling for Williams Baptist College during the NAIA National Championships last March in Topeka, Kan.
Haley said the injury was so severe that it severed an artery. The initial trauma of watching his brother get hurt made Haley, who just finished his junior season for the Quincy Notre Dame wrestling team, consider not competing as a senior.
"I kept telling myself I don't want to wrestle anymore," he said. "I didn't want that to happen to me."
His other older brother, Timothy, made him rethink.
"He settled me down," Haley said. "He didn't say much, but he consoled me. He told me to keep wrestling."
Haley, now a senior for the Raiders, is trying to get back to the Class 1A state title match. He fell short in last year's 138-pound championship with a 4-2 loss to Morrison's Joe Eads at the State Farm Center in Champaign. He would become the second wrestler in QND history to win a state championship if he accomplishes that.
A year later, Haley is dedicating his senior season to his brother who convinced him to continue wrestling.
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Brain tumor ends basketball career for C-SC's Thompson, but she continues to inspire teammates
Published: Feb. 26, 2018
CANTON, Mo. -- When the lights start to hurt, Andrekia Thompson closes her eyes and shields them with her hand.
It's only a short remedy.
It gets that way when Thompson suffers a migraine except "30 times worse." Any kind of light, and the smallest sounds make her head feel like its pounding. Simply looking at a computer screen for too long triggers them.
"Sometimes my vision will double or get speckles," Thompson said. "I'll get tingling in my fingertips or in my feet. It's not a good feeling, especially when you can't control it."
Thompson started experiencing the intense migraines when she returned to campus in the fall for her senior year and last year of basketball at Culver-Stockton College. As they got worse, she made trips to the emergency room for help.
Medications only worked temporarily. When basketball season started in early October, the senior guard continued to play through the pain. However, Thompson's demeanor wasn't what she usually brought on the court.
"She just didn't have the same energy," C-SC senior guard Hannah Thompson said. "She loves this game."
That made Thompson want to find out what was causing the headaches.
It ended up changing her life.
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'We should have died': Quincy's Robbins back on basketball court less than two months after car accident
Published: Feb. 15, 2016
QUINCY -- The morning of Nov. 4 was foggy when Miayla Robbins pulled her Jeep Liberty onto Cannonball Road headed for Quincy High School.
She never made it.
Jada Humphrey, a junior guard for the Quincy High School basketball team and one of Miayla's closest friends, arrived to school later than usual that day. The teammates typically park their vehicles next to each other in the QHS parking lot so they can walk into school together.
When Humphrey arrived that morning, she noticed Robbins and her sister, Matyia, hadn't arrived. She thought Miayla might have been doing something that involved her knees. Miayla tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during her freshman season, and she tore the ACL in her opposite knee as a sophomore.
"She was coming off her knee injury, and she talked about therapy a couple days before that," Humphrey said. "So I thought she was at the doctor getting released or something. I just texted her asking everything was OK, but I never got a response.
"I started to worry."
She didn't want to be late for class, so Humphrey walked into the building. She finally received a text message later in the day about Miayla's whereabouts, but it didn't come from her.
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