ORU's Kyron Stokes fights through concussions
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Saturday, March 05, 2011
3/05/11 at 5:59 AM
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - In his sparring headgear, Kyron Stokes looks more ready for the next "Rocky" movie than he is for an Oral Roberts basketball game.
ORU head coach Scott Sutton said the 6-foot-5 junior is a good man to have in a hardwood fight.
The Golden Eagles won't mind extra help when they take on North Dakota State at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the first round of the Summit League tournament.
"I'm excited to be a part of it," Stokes said. "I honestly think we can go up there and win three games (and an NCAA Tournament berth)."
Multiple concussions caused Stokes to miss 17 games, but he returns at just the right time,wearing a headgear suggested by ORU athletic trainer John Joslin, who got the idea from IPFW's John Peckinpaugh, who wears a similar headgear to prevent head injuries.
"I didn't want to wear it at first, but if it lets me play again, I'm fine with it," Stokes said.
Sutton said Stokes could be just what the doctor ordered for a still-developing team playing its best basketball over the last month - an emotional leader off the bench who specializes in playing defense and doing the little things that help a team win.
"His stats aren't gonna jump out at you, but he does a lot of different things. He's tough. He's a glue guy. He takes charges, and he's not afraid to get his nose dirty and get in there and get a loose ball," Sutton said.
Stokes thought he was through after receiving his third concussion in the Dec. 30 home loss to Oakland. He missed nearly two months.
Doctors couldn't find anything that might cause longterm damage, but told Stokes it might be safer to give up basketball. On line to graduate in May, the fourth-year junior considered going through Senior Night activities and calling it quits.
Then something happened that changed his plans. A devoted Christian, Stokes called that something God.
"It was him saying, 'I'll have the final word in this matter,' " Stokes said.
The headaches that had plagued Stokes daily for weeks started to slacken, and a neurologist checked him out and told him he was fine.
Stokes returned to play a combined 28 minutes in wins over IUPUI and Western Illinois last weekend as the Eagles extended their winning streak to eight.
"It feels great to be back out there," he said. "It feels good. It feels right. I'm having fun with it. I'm living it up."
He's even having fun with the headgear. He did some mock sparring with freshman forward Steven Roundtree before the Western Illinois game last weekend.
"The guys got a kick out of it," he said.
ORU and NDSU split their regular-season meetings. Without leading scorer Dominique Morrison, the Eagles lost 80-74 in Fargo on Jan. 6. But with Morrison, the Eagles rallied for an 81-73 win at the Mabee Center on Feb. 5.
Original Print Headline: Stokes fights through concussions
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ORU junior Kyron Stokes missed 17 games due to multiple concussions, and he now plays with sparring headgear. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World
ORU's Kyron Stokes played a combined 28 minutes against IUPUI and Western Illinois (above). SHERRY BROWN/Tulsa World