Ruth Adams of the St. Thomas Aquinas Women's Basketball team was named a 2019 recipient of the John Smillie, Jr. Award at the recent ECC Awards Dinner, held at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY.
This award is given in honor of NYIT Athletic Trainer, John Smillie, Jr. who passed away two years after battling cancer. The John Smillie, Jr. Award is given annually to a student-athlete or student-athletes who have overcome personal or physical challenges and hardships to pursue their intercollegiate athlete careers. John Smillie's children were in attendance to present the awards.
As a junior, Ruth was ready to fill a key role on a team poised to be a top team in the East Coast Conference and possibly even the region.
On her first day of pre-season, she completed a workout and felt ready to get the season underway but the next day she went to see Head Athletic Trainer Lori Rahaim feeling lethargic, with right shoulder tightness and pain. Her right arm felt heavy and she could not lift it above her head. When she was not making any progress from her condition, she was sent for bloodwork by the team doctor. As soon as it came back, Ruth was rushed to the Emergency Room with a diagnosis of active rhabdomyolysis. Untreated, this could lead to kidney failure and heart complications. After almost a week of medical treatment, she was released from the hospital and told it was going to be a long, complicated recovery. Ruth endured blood work every week, constant fluids, daily hydration checks, tons of doctor visits, and what may have seemed to be the ultimate punishment, no basketball or workouts for the entire 2017-18 season which included STAC’s first ECC title and an NCAA second round appearance.
Despite the issues she was facing, “Ruth was a positive role model on the sidelines and gave her team a lot energy from the bench, really supporting them,” noted Coach Lusk. Ruth continued to complete treatments during that year and over the summer to make her way back to working out and playing basketball for the 2018-19 season where as a red-shirt junior, Ruth helped lead her team to a regular season championship averaging 11.2 points per game while garnering ECC accolades of Second Team All-Conference.