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Keep Pushing On

Reprinted from SNS September 2018

Faith, attitude and a drive to be the best helped Kelvin "KJ" Fields II to be named the 2018 SNS Junior Athlete of the Year

For Kelvin “KJ” Fields II, adaptive sports are more than competition. The Mount Olive, Miss., native has a solid foundation in his faith, his family and as an adaptive athlete.

Being a good sportsman is important to him, as is mentoring younger athletes. But don’t be fooled; he’s a fierce competitor when the time comes and always strives to be his best. 

“My mom and dad always taught me to keep God first and never give up,” Fields says. “I never want to be seen as ‘the bad kid,’ someone who cusses, fusses with his mom or don’t listen to his parents. I try to treat people how I’d like to be treated and always keep a smile on my face. Even though I might be hurting inside, I always try to smile.”

Fielding An Honor

That attitude, along with a drive to be his best, are just some of the reasons why Fields was named the 36th SPORTS ’N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year during the closing ceremonies of July’s Adaptive Sports USA 2018 Junior Nationals at Turnstone Center For Children And Adults With Disabilities in Fort Wayne, Ind.

He was presented an engraved silver platter from 2017 SPORTS ‘N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year, Jason Robinson. He’ll also receive a one-year subscription to SPORTS ’N SPOKES magazine and a new custom wheelchair courtesy of Box Wheelchairs.

Fields spent the week of July 22-27 in Fort Wayne with more than 200 other young athletes competing in a variety of Paralympic-style games including archery, powerlifting, shooting, table tennis, track and field and swimming events. He easily lived up to his winning spirit by breaking all of his personal-best records.


SPORTS `N SPOKES web content manager, Christopher Di Virgilio (right) presents Kelvin "KJ" Fields the SPORTS `N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year award at the closing ceremonies of the Adaptive Sports USA Junior Nationals. (Photo by Susan Rossi).

Competing with Team Lakeshore Foundation, Fields won four events and first-place pins to go along with his Adaptive Sports USA 2018 Junior Nationals participation medallion. He broke national records and won his three T54 division field events with throws of 9.45 meters in the discus, 10.73 meters in the javelin and 4.82 meters in the shot put and also won the T53 200 meters in 46.72 seconds.  

Following His Love Of Sports

Life in a wheelchair is almost second nature for Fields. When he was 5 years old, he was struck by a car while crossing the road to visit his aunt and sustained a T8/9 spinal-cord injury. Despite his injury, he has never looked back at the accident as anything but a new opportunity to excel at what he loves most — sports.

“I was injured in May, got out of the hospital in July and by November I was on my first wheelchair basketball team,” Fields says. “I didn’t know anything about wheelchair sports, but adaptive sports changed my life. I do the same things now that I did before I was injured … only now from a chair.” 

While that may be his memory of his recovery, his parents, Kelvin and Dee, paint a different story.

“KJ sustained many broken bones, injuries to his internal organs and head trauma on top of his spnal-cord injury,” Dee says. “It was a long transition from injury to sports, but KJ was determined to
be active.”

Like many newly injured athletes, KJ’s parents began the process of helping make his transition into a new life go as seamlessly as possible. From rehabilitation to learning new routines to researching adaptive sports programs, it all became the new normal.

“We sacrifice a lot for KJ’s success,” Kelvin says. “It’s tough getting from event to event. My wife, Dee, and I each have our own tasks that we take on and to keep the stress level to a minimum, we try to turn KJ’s trips into family vacations.”

Living Up To His Motto

Now, some seven years later, KJ has become a household name in adaptive sports, resilience and determination in his community and beyond.

KJ’s motto, “Push On,” soon became the self-motivator that would help him keep his focus and move him forward when things got tough. Now a full-fledged Facebook page, Push On KJ, boasts his accomplishments as well as his message of awareness for adaptive sports programs and inclusion.

“I typically have to be driven more than an hour if I want to compete, so more adaptive sports programs would be great,” KJ says. 

Off the field, KJ keeps busy within his community and volunteers at the Covington County Nursing Home, Blair Baston Children’s Hospital and has spoken at a variety of local organizations and events in the hopes of creating more awareness for adaptive sports.

“As the 2018 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Mississippi, KJ brings hope to pediatric patients and their families,” says Mississippi First Lady Deborah Bryant. “His smile and positive attitude are contagious.”

For KJ, the SPORTS ’N SPOKES Junior Athlete of the Year is one of many honors bestowed upon him this year alone. He is an accomplished wheelchair basketball player, enjoys softball and is making the rounds in track and field. KJ spent the year competing at various events such as the Angel City Games in California and the Endeavor Games in Fort Wayne to name a few, taking first place in his class in many of the track and field events.

While wheelchair basketball is his passion, KJ also took part in the 2017 Junior Wheelchair Softball World Series held earlier in the summer and found himself playing for the Minnesota Rollin’ Twins. That experience only goes to show the great versatility and drive of this young athlete. 

“I want to thank SPORTS ’N SPOKES for the award of Junior Athlete of the Year,” says KJ. “I love it. You’re all like my second family.” 

One of KJ’s goals for his athletic career is to be the first athlete in a wheelchair to have his jersey and wheelchair retired in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. A lofty goal to push on for indeed. 

 

 

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