CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2021 CLEVELAND CLINIC SPORTS MEDICINE COURAGE AWARD WINNER: ROBBIE BOYCE
Robbie Boyce, a junior at St. Ignatius High School, overcame major medical obstacles to return to playing competitive sports. Boyce was honored with the Cleveland Clinic Sports Medicine Courage Award during the 22nd Greater Cleveland Sports Awards presented by Medical Mutual and Ancora on Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
In September 2020, Boyce was at the gym preparing for his upcoming junior baseball season when he suddenly had a seizure and collapsed. Boyce’s trainer quickly called emergency services and he was airlifted to Cleveland Clinic’s main campus. Boyce, who was 16 years old, had suffered severe bleeding in his brain caused by a very rare type of stroke called a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and underwent emergency brain surgery.
During surgery, Mark Bain, M.D., neurosurgeon at the Cerebrovascular Center at Cleveland Clinic, and his team discovered an artery had ruptured inside Boyce’s brain that sustained significant damage forcing them to perform a procedure which involved inserting tiny coils into the pathway to ultimately seal the aneurysm and block blood flow.
After surgery, Boyce spent five days in a medically induced coma, and when he initially woke up, the right side of his body was paralyzed. His road to recovery looked to be a long one, but Boyce began to show steady progress as his brain healed.
For the next 30 days, Boyce remained in the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Intensive Care Unit followed by two months in rehabilitation therapy relearning basic functions, including walking and improving his short-term memory which were affected by the stroke.
By January 2021, Boyce had returned to school. He was back on the junior varsity baseball team and even resumed playing piano just three-and-a-half months after his stroke.
“In Robbie’s situation, because he’s so young and was in such critical condition, it takes a massive team, including surgeons, nurses, critical care specialists, physical and occupational therapists and many more, coming together to care for him every step of the way,” said Dr. Bain. “Looking back on how he came to us, and seeing him walking and talking, let alone playing sports and thriving, is really amazing.”
Boyce believes his hard work, dedication and the support of family, friends and the medical team at Cleveland Clinic helped expedite his recovery. He now uses his story as a way to help others who are in similar situations remain positive and persevere.
“You’ll be able to get through it if you keep pushing as hard as you can and believing in yourself,” said Boyce. “There's a lot of people out there rooting for you.”
Boyce is currently in his junior year at St. Ignatius High School and lives with his parents.
Cleveland Clinic Sports Medicine Courage Award is given to an athlete who displays courage beyond the boundaries of their playing field, in order to inspire those around them.
Robbie will be honored during Sports Awards on March 23, 2022 when a full video of his journey will be revealed.
2020: Camryn Colahan, Vermilion, Volleyball, Basketball and Track & Field
2019: Skylar Scarnecchia, Champion Township, Basketball and Track & Field
2018: Sophia Pecjak, Mentor, Soccer & Basketball
2017: Samer Babi, North Olmsted, Football - SamerStrong Memorial Foundation
2016: Kendra Seitz, Competitive Swimming
2015: Colin Teets, Westlake, Hockey
2014: Nick Lenyo, Huron, Football
2013: Courteney Belmonte, Westlake, Competitive Cheerleading
2012: Molly Miller, Notre Dame Academy, Soccer
2011: Brandee Kelly, Cleveland State University, Basketball
2010: Olivia Warhop, Hathaway Brown School, Swimming & Soccer
2009: Gyasi Cooper, St. Ignatius High School, Track & Field
2008: Eric Anderson, Jr., Gilmour Academy, Basketball
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