NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Pitcher Purdue Jackson smeltz was among the returning Thomas A. Brady, MD scholarship recipients on Thursday night at the Methodist Sports Medicine Brady Sports Achievement Awards Reception.
Smeltz is the ninth Purdue student-athlete to receive the Brady Comeback Scholarship Award since its inception in 2006. The award honors Indiana college and high school male and female student-athletes who have distinguished themselves by overcoming adversity or injury, and came back and excelled beyond expectations in their respective sports.
Smeltz has overcome several surgeries dating back to the age of 13. In his early teens, he underwent surgery to remove a non-cancerous brain tumor. After a breakout freshman season in the spring of 2017 at McCutcheon High School in Lafayette, he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow. He didn’t pitch again in high school, but still contributed as a positional player, leading the team on average in second year and earning the team’s MVP honors as a junior.
After he finally returned to the mound in February 2020 as a red shirt rookie at Purdue, making his debut as a starting pitcher during the season opener, the season was put on hold due to the pandemic. Smeltz had also injured the labrum in his right hip, requiring further surgery. The procedure and rehabilitation have been delayed by the pandemic.
But Smeltz appeared during the 2021 campaign as a weapon in the Purdue reliever pen, registering 22 strikeouts against 12 allowed hits in 19 1/3 innings in 13 appearances. He was the winning pitcher in all three of the Boilermakers’ wins and made two saves while also finishing wins against Ohio State and Penn State. In Purdue’s season opener over eventual league champion Nebraska, he pulled the team out on catches in the first inning.
Smeltz continues to fight the effects of brain tumor to this day. Her weekly drug regimen is aimed at stopping new tumor growth and trying to keep her body in a state of balance. Side effects of the drug can be severe and unpredictable, including dizziness and headache. Routine lab tests, scans, and doctor visits are still a part of her life on a weekly and monthly basis.
Meanwhile, Smeltz overcame everything to excel academically at Purdue. He compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.62 while majoring in agribusiness. This ranks as the best GPA among pitching staff. The southpaw also caught the attention of professional scouts this spring.
“I love to play the game,” Smeltz said in an interview with the Purdue College of Agriculture this spring. “I feel like God gave me these talents for a reason, and just because you’re going through a tough time or encountering roadblocks along the way, that doesn’t mean you have to stop. means you have to keep going, no matter what. My mentality is that I’m going to keep going until someone tells me that I can’t play anymore and there is no more opportunity. “
I’ve been training this kid since he was 9, I sat with his family through 8 hour brain surgery, I watched Oklahoma State abandon him because of injuries, I watched him get beating Tommy John last night was really special for Team Smeltz!
– Justin Christopher Walker “Chris” (@ Jcwalker2Justin) March 6, 2021
Smeltz was nominated for the Brady Award by Purdue Baseball Athletic Coach Casey Kohr, who aided Smeltz in his return to the mound.
“I’ve never worked with a young man who has overcome so much as Jackson,” says Kohr. “He is highly regarded in the eyes of his teammates and coaches. He is the best example of an athlete who has managed to succeed despite all the obstacles in his path. Jackson is an amazing person and it has been a privilege to be able to work with him over the past three years. I look forward to following his bright future wherever it takes me. “
The Methodist Sports Medicine Research & Education Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Methodist Sports Medicine Research, selects the recipients of the Brady Comeback Award. The winners receive a scholarship of $ 1,500.
Dr. Thomas A. Brady was the founder of Methodist Sports Medicine and known as the Father of Central Indiana Sports Medicine. In the early 1960s, he set up a walk-in clinic in the basement of the Methodist Hospital where he treated injuries free of charge. The clinic lasted until Dr. Brady’s unofficial retirement in the 1980s, when it was incorporated into the Methodist Sports Medicine Center. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Brady was an orthopedic consultant to 22 Indianapolis high schools as well as teams from DePauw University and University of Indianapolis. He died in 2011 at the age of 95.
The 2021 Brady Sports Achievement Awards Reception presented by Physicians Rehab Solution was held at Finch Creek Fieldhouse in Noblesville. Smeltz and his family with Purdue director of player development Jean Madia and Kohr were all present.
BOILERS RECEIVES THE BRADY COMEBACK AWARD (SINCE 2006)
2021: Jackson smeltz, Baseball
2019: David Blough, football
2016: Emily Fogle, Swimming
2014: Liza Clemons, Basketball
2013: Drey Mingo, Basketball
2012: Robbie Hummel, basketball
2010: Jaycen Taylor, football
2009: Jodi Howell, basketball
2006: Brent Coudron, Baseball