Senior shooting guard Dylan Hay is having a storybook senior year for the boys’ basketball team. But when Dylan was a toddler, this kind of story looked unlikely.
The boys’ basketball team is 11-0 and senior captain Dylan Hay is averaging 16.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game. Hay, a shooting guard, couldn’t be more excited about the surprising start–which is fitting since his involvement in basketball has always been a bit of a surprise. “I fell in love with the sport when I was little,” Dylan said, but as a child Dylan didn’t know if he could even play. “When I was little I had epilepsy. I wasn’t supposed to be able to play sports.”
At the age of two, Dylan had his first major seizure at daycare. TJ Hay, Dylan’s father and Central’s head basketball coach, was working at Stevens High School at the time. TJ received a call that Dylan had suffered a seizure and had been taken to Rapid City Regional Hospital. Since Rapid City didn’t have a pediatric neurologist at the time, they sent Dylan to Denver. Some of the medications’ side effects bothered Dylan and would allow him only a couple of hours of sleep each night. One night they ran a test to see how many seizures he would have, hooking him up to a brain monitor: “I had to watch and see how many times he had a seizure and press the button,” TJ Hay said. “I only saw three, but the next day when the doctor came back, he had over a 100 seizures on the monitor.” Finally Dylan received a medication that worked and stopped the seizures in the middle of second grade. After he went seizure-free for a year, “The doctors told us we could take him off the medication with the risk of it starting again and not being able to use that medication again,” TJ Hay said. Hopeful, they took Dylan off the medication. “We were lucky.”
Despite the rough start, Dylan’s passion for the game has flourished. In fact, he wants to play at the college level. “Oh God, absolute dream college would be Kansas,” he said, “but I’m still deciding on where I’m attending next year.” He’s worked hard in high school. From freshman to senior year, Dylan has gained 40 pounds of muscle. “He’s no longer the smallest kid out there, he is one of the most competitive kids out there,” said Mrs. Yeoman.
Basketball has provided a lot of memories for Dylan in the last four seasons. He says that he’ll never forget his sophomore year at the state tournament. They had lost the first two games. “I just wanted to help Connor [McCormick] and Justin [Kraemer] get one win,” Dylan said. “We lost in overtime by two. I’ve never been more sad in my life.” Dylan and the team are making up for that heartbreak this season with a winning streak that the players and fans alike are enjoying. “We’re all playing together and we’re playing really well. If we keep it up and keep getting better, we have a shot to do big things!”
Photos courtesy of Tom Anderson