As we are all feeling the impact of COVID-19 in one way or the other, sometimes it’s good to hear a sports story on perseverance. One of those stories come from former Dawson Springs Panther basketball star Ron Adams.

Adams’ basketball story actually started in Union County as he started his competitive basketball playing career as a sixth grader on the junior high teams at Uniontown School.

Adams was a star on the Uniontown team and recently talked about his move to Dawson Springs.

“We moved to Dawson Springs my eighth grade year, and I thought I would be a starter for sure but I spent most the year on the bench,” he said.

Adams did not give up and persevered through sitting the bench. He also experienced what many of us experience in sports as he went from a 5’2” seventh grader to a 5’11” eighth grader.

Today, many athletes give up on sports in their middle school years because often times the better middle school athletes are the ones who have matured earlier in life or have had an early growth spurt.

After spending most of the season on the bench and seeing limited playing time his eighth grade year, Adams became a starter on the freshman team the next season. He was also on the Panther junior varsity team and was able to dress as a Dawson Springs varsity player his freshman year although he only played in one or two games.

In his sophomore season, Adams exploded on the scene. He opened the season as a starter on the junior varsity. Early in the season, he broke into the varsity starting lineup for Coach Norman Manasco and he never looked back.

Adams went on to start 81 straight games for the Panthers. During his sophomore year, he set what was then a school record by scoring 31 points in one half against Trigg County.

In his junior season of 1973-74, the Panthers had another great season winning 19 games. In the summer between his junior and senior season he went to a camp at Murray State University and out of the 110 players at Murray State that summer, he was named the most valuable player.

In Adams senior season of 1974-75, the Panthers were a power in the Three Rivers Conference. In those days, the Three Rivers Conference would be similar to the Class A tournament today. It was designed for smaller schools and there was preseason exhibition of all the teams, a regular season schedule, a Christmas tournament and end of the season All-Conference team.

Adams had a great senior year, averaging over 24 points, nine rebounds and nine assists per game.

Adams left his mark on winning with the Panthers. His Panther teams were 19-11 and 21-12 in his junior and senior seasons.

After high school, Adams started his basketball college career at Cumberland College in Williamsburg, Kentucky. However, he suffered an ankle injury that fall and when it looked like he was going to set out the whole season he returned home and took a job in the coal mines in November 1975. His life and basketball career changed 15 months later.

Adams noted, “I went to work at Hamilton Number 2 in Union County. On March 17, 1977 I was driving a shuttle car and on my first day as a shuttle car driver I hit the roof and broke my neck.”

Adams recalled the incident, “I remember hearing cracking and popping. I fell off the car and I lay there with my face in the coal. Trying to move was real weird because nothing worked.”

At the hospital, the doctors gave Adams the bad news that the accident had broken his neck and left him a quadriplegic. He would never walk again and would never play basketball like he used to play it.

However, the accident did not define Adams. His story is a story of perseverance during the current difficult times. He returned to college earning his business degree at Murray State University and went on to Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon Chase College of Law.

Adams started practicing law in 1987 and things were going well up until 1995 when he had a brain tumor which turned out to be benign. However, it left him deaf in one ear and forced him to quit practicing law for three years.

Adams continued to persevere and has not only returned to practice law but today has what many people consider the largest bankruptcy practice in northern Kentucky.

Adams still has fond memories of his glory days as a Dawson Springs Panther. However, Adams said that while he enjoys representing clients in court there is nothing more he loves than representing Jesus to anyone who is willing to listen.

Adams truly turned a tragedy into a triumph.

Keith Cartwright is a local attorney and contributing sports columnist. Email: kcartwright@feptc.com.