Lowcountry teen who beat brain cancer tries out for Paralympic National Soccer Team
(WCIV) -- Nick Price, a senior at Academic Magnet High School, has more on his plate than just semester exams right now. He left Wednesday morning for Chula Vista, California, where he will try out for the Paralympic National Soccer Team.
He received a phone call on November 28, inviting him to the camp where he will compete against others for a coveted spot on the team.
The team’s motto: one team, 14 stories.
In order to be eligible for the team, a player must either have had a stroke, cerebral palsy, or a traumatic or acquired brain injury.
“I’ve heard of the Paralympic National Tea, but it never crossed my mind.”
Price’s brain injury makes him eligible, but his elite level of play is what scored the invitation.
Price was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2015.
Just a week ago doctors discovered the pontine glioma, a rare tumor in his brainstem, he made his high school soccer team.
He then traveled to Arizona for a risky surgery. In fact, it was the only place where they could find a doctor willing to attempt the surgery.
That’s when the good news started. They got it all, and the road to recovery began.
“It was a lengthy process of getting back into soccer,” he said. “I couldn't see very well. Everything was hyper-sensitive from having a brain surgery. I think that part of my game allowed me to focus more on seeing the field without seeing. just having a sixth sense of where people are at all times.”
Price gives a lot of credit to his coach for taking a chance on him and allowing him to heal on the team.
“It was huge for me,” he said. “I give a lot of credit for my journey to recovery to soccer.”
And he’s pretty good. He was named as his school’s defensive player of the year, just to name one of the many accolades he’s earned on the field.
“I worked pretty hard to get to where I am today.”
He’s worked just as hard off the field through the foundation he set up in his name. The Nick Price Foundation helps sick children and adults battling brain tumors and cancer.
”I promised my parents and myself that I would come out of this surgery better than ever, I would strive for greatness, and help other people,” he explained. ”That's exactly what I’m doing. I think trying out for this team and potentially making it and representing my country is another step in the right direction for me.”
Now, it’s six days of tryouts in California. Six days to play for the USA.
“I’m going to play my heart out, and I’m going to play for all the people that have passed from cancer,” he said. “I’m going to play for all my fans, all the people that have supported me, all my family, and all my friends. And, I’m going to do it for myself.”
Price was our April 2017 Jefferson Awards recipient.