Teen keeps running after beating brain tumor

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This week, we will share amazing comeback stories featuring student athletes across the state. These college and high school athletes have overcome injury or illness.

WTHR is partnering with Methodist Sports Medicine for the Brady Sports Achievement Awards.

Sam Baker is a straight-A senior at tiny Washington Catholic High School, with just 80 students enrolled. Everyone knows about Sam's massive seizure in a science class when he was just a freshman. His arms and legs trembled uncontrollably as his mouth drooled. 

"I thought I was in, like, a nightmare, a dream. It wasn't like sleep. It just felt like someone was choking me. I was just like in terror," Baker said.

Sam was rushed to Daviess Community Hospital, where his father, Dr. Michael Baker, was in surgery. 

"My primary responsibility right at that point is to my patient and that was challenging. I finished the surgery," Dr. Baker said.

Then, he learned that his son had a brain tumor and surrounding cyst about the size of a large egg. Delicate, precise surgery removed the benign tumor without any brain damage.

"I feel extremely fortunate. God gave me a great gift. He allowed me to go through that experience and then come out of it, I think a better person on the other side," Sam said.

He quickly returned to his passion of running. Each year he improved in cross country. His coach takes no credit.

"I only did it because no one else would. Since he came, he's really motivated me to learn more about running and to get more kids involved," said coach Josh Witchman.

Sam ran his first 5k race at age five. He advanced to semi-state as a senior, furthest of any male runner in school history. He plans to keep on running at Wabash College next fall.

"I still kind of have a hole in my brain. It's shrunk quite a bit. Nothing's missing," he said.

Brain surgery opened his mind to the road ahead.

"Putting things in perspective. It's given me a great sense of that. It's definitely increased my faith in my church and allowed me to feel privileged to overcome something like that," Sam said.

The Brady Sports Achievement Awards program is Thursday night at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. The event starts at 7:00 pm. For ticket information, call 817-1258.