Ironton’s Carpenter finalist for Jersey Mike’s Courage Award

Published 1:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2023

Ironton Fighting Tigers’ Tayden Carpenter hits a 3-pointer from the corner. (Photo by Tim Gearhart)

Jim Walker

Tayden Carpenter has been beating the odds his whole life and he does it without a lot of fan fare.

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But the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award is taking notice.

Tayden Carpenter

The Ironton Fighting Tigers senior three-sport standout is one of 10 finalists among hundreds f nationwide nominations.

And why is Carpenter among those finalists? Unlike other athletes, Carpenter is legally deaf.

Using hearing aide implants in his head, Carpenter is able to hear and communicate. And through medical science as well as therapy, he has been able to not only play sports but excel.

A second team Associated Press Division 5 All-Ohio selection, Carpenter became the first deaf quarterback to play in an Ohio state championship football game. And he’s done it twice, both in 2020 and 2022.

Besides football, Carpenter plays basketball and tennis.

In basketball, Carpenter is an an excellent 3-point shooter and a physical defender around the basket.

Candidates for the award are nominated by coaches, parents and athletic directors from across the country. The Atlanta Tipoff Club administers the Naismith Awards which celebrates high school and college basketball’s most prestigious national awards. It will announce the Courage Award winner for both a male and female on March 7.

The Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award recognizes a high school player who has consistently gone above and beyond throughout the basketball season and has demonstrated courage in their approach to their team, school and community.

Carpenter has not only exhibited outstanding success in athletics, but he currently sports a 4.383 grade point average and will graduate with honors in May.

Besides being deaf, Carpenter has had to fight through injuries that attempted to sidetrack his career.

Last season, Carpenter suffered a hip injury prior to the start of the season. He attempted to play in the opener against Wheelersburg but couldn’t go past the second series and was sidelined until week five.

He returned for the 10th game at home against Portsmouth but didn’t make to halftime as he suffered a broken foot and missed the rest of the games and the playoffs.

Carpenter also suffered a broken collarbone as a freshman and missed half the season.

One problem about football is wearing a helmet and how it can obstruct your hearing. Carpenter said that problem has been resolved for the most part.

“Once again, as nominations came in, we learned of so many inspirational stories about courageous high school student-athletes who are role models for other,” said Eric Oberman who is the executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

“We are thrilled to celebrates Tayden as one of our ten finalists for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Basketball Courage Award as he exemplifies all this award stands for.”

Jeresey Mike’s will make a $2,000 donation to the school’s basketball program of the two winners in their honor and reward each overall winner with an additional $2,000 per student.

Winner will be recognized at their school and through a video tribute shared across the Naismith Trophy and Jersey Mike’s websites and social media accounts.