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Throat tumor to football quarterback; how one teen is challenging the odds

Posted at 7:11 PM, Aug 22, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Ayden Hamilton runs out onto the field with high aspirations like every senior.

"It's definitely very intimidating," Hamilton said. "I'm hoping I can perform and try to win a state championship before I'm gone."

It's intimidating, but he has never shied away from a battle before.

"I've faced a lot of adversity. Even through younger years getting bullied all the way up to like fifth grade," Hamilton said. "Even in football, it's hard for people to hear me on the field."

A tumor on his vocal cords made it tough and painful to speak. "They would cut it out and cut it out, but it would keep regrowing and regrowing."

47 throat surgeries, about 30 before he even turned six years old. That's about a surgery every two and a half months.

"The feeling after surgery is nothing, as time got on I kind of got used to it," Hamilton said. "Eventually it's gone now, but it's hard to train myself to speak normally again."

But each surgery is making him the person he is today.

"That blessing, because it really could have killed me when I was younger. It could have been much worse. I think about that and how blessed I am to be alive. That pushes me."

"Just one of those great young men," Victory Christian head coach Brett Smith said. "The kind that you point your son up to like I point my son up to him. The talent on the field is one thing, but the talent off the field is probably actually more impressive with him than on the field."

Which says a lot because, on the field, he's impressive too. Including two years at Beggs and last year at Victory, Hamilton has played in three straight state semifinals. He scored 24 touchdowns for Victory Christian last season.

"All the adversity I faced as a kid, I think, has kind of forced me to keep my mind straight," Hamilton said. "Don't focus on the outside focus on what you are doing and what your team is doing."

With a rasp in his voice, he said, "I just get them real close to me, I guess you could say." Hamilton isn't taking a snap for granted.

"Just don't let adversity keep you down, you have to push past it no matter what," he said. "Some people probably have it even worse than me. Just use God and push through it."

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