Two concussions couldn't scare off Kyle MillerTwo concussions and a frightening beanball in baseball last summer weren’t going to scare off Kyle Miller.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Two concussions and a frightening beanball in baseball last summer weren’t going to scare off Kyle Miller.
Miller lost nearly his entire junior basketball season because of the concussions. This year he has been back and playing a key role for the undefeated New Richmond boys basketball team.
Miller has been the sixth man for the Tigers this season. He got to achieve one of his goals when he stepped into the starting lineup against Prescott last Tuesday when Dalton Sabby was out sick.
Miller contributed eight points in the 60-52 victory, including hitting two of the pivotal shots in the game. The Tigers led 27-25 until Miller swished three-pointers on consecutive possessions late in the second quarter.
The start was gratifying for Miller because he’s started throughout his basketball career with the rest of the seniors in the starting lineup.
“It’s nice playing with the first five. We have a bond,” Miller said.
He said he was a bit hurt at first to find he wasn’t starting this season. As he began to understand the importance of being the sixth man, he realized the value of the role. In many games he gets as many minutes as most of the starters.
Coach Rick Montreal moved Miller back to his sixth man role for Friday’s game at Ellsworth. Miller had no complaints about returning to role as the top reserve.
“He handled it like a man,” Montreal said. “He probably played his best game. That tells you a lot about his integrity.”
Miller said the seniors won’t get overconfident because of their undefeated start and being ranked in the top five teams in the state in Division 2.
“We have to realize to take it one game at a time. We want to stay unbeaten as long as we can,” Miller said.
That Miller is playing at all shows his love for the game. The first of his concussions happened a week before the season last year, when he was kneed in the back of the head in a pickup game. After sitting out three weeks, he returned to the team. After playing about half the games, Miller was sidelined by his second concussion, missing the rest of the regular season.
At that point, Miller said he was told by the high school athletic trainer that with a third concussion, he’d be done with high school sports for good.
That’s what made the beaning during the American Legion baseball season last summer even more frightening. A pitch struck Miller in the side of the helmet. He didn’t crumble, but it took everything he had to maintain any balance. Teammates rushed to him and helped him to the dugout.
“That was the scariest,” Miller said. “That had the worst side effects. I was woozy, I could barely walk.”
Despite the symptoms, the injury was not diagnosed as a concussion.
Montreal said the concussions gave Miller time to think about how important sports are to him.
“He’s been through so much. He’s got a greater appreciation for what he has,” Montreal said. “It’s a very mature quality that most kids don’t have because they haven’t been through that type of adversity. He’s as dedicated to the team as anyone I’ve seen in my four and a half years here.”