INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Justin Volkman, a student-athlete at Chapman High School, has been selected as the 2013 Section 5 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). This marks the first time a Kansas nomination has been selected as a section recipient. The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
After experiencing some pain in his right leg at track practice in spring 2011, Volkman underwent an x-ray and an MRI that revealed a mass on the back side of his femur. Twelve days later, he was diagnosed with Periosteal Chondroblastic Osteosarcoma, a rare pediatric bone cancer.
Since the tumor was localized and the cancer had not spread, chemotherapy and surgery were ordered for Volkman. In July 2011, he underwent surgery to remove the tumor and the doctors were able to save his leg.
The chemotherapy was successful, as it killed 99 percent of the cancer. Volkman endured 35 weeks of treatment, including 18 chemotherapy treatments, three surgeries and five blood transfusions.
Volkman continues to give himself a weekly injection to boost his immune system. Although there is no known cause for osteosarcoma, it is curable and Volkman looks forward to the day when he will be called cured.
As a means of selflessly giving back, Volkman’s “Make a Wish” request was to improve the weight room at Chapman High School. His request funded new racks, six new bench-type apparati, and 45 new bars to go with them. In addition, the weight room received a new coat of paint with mascot images and sayings.
About the Award
The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 5 are Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.
While the national winner will be recognized June 24 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Denver, Colorado, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.