By Gaige Winchester
What qualifies someone as an MVP?
Typically, a Most Valuable Player is someone who leads the team in scoring, is a great leader on the field or court, or someone who plays with grit throughout the entirety of every game.
There are, however, exceptions such as junior three-sport athlete Palmer Samuels.
He’s a quarterback on the football team, a forward on the basketball team, and a pitcher on the baseball team.
He has played in only 11 varsity contests in his eight sports seasons and has yet to score a point or run. However, in the 127 total varsity games that have been played in his sports since he’s been in high school, he’s never been absent for an event.
While his role on his teams may get overlooked by the average fan, his contributions and value are undisputed among coaches.
“Nobody’s really talking about him,” head basketball coach Mark Detweiler said. “I think he’s going to be a guy that a year from now, people are going to be talking about.”
The reason he isn’t the topic of fans’ athletic conversations is because he’s had two major knee injuries in the past three years, causing him to miss two seasons of football, two seasons of basketball, and one season of baseball.
“The first one, I tore both my ACL and meniscus, and I broke my leg with nine different fractures,” Samuels said. “The second injury was a complete tear of the AC, and a complete tear of the lateral meniscus.”
Each rehab is about eight months long and consists of physical therapy, daily stretching, and some time on crutches.
Though Samuels may not have been able to give his coaches anything in the statistics category on the field or the court this season, he still found ways to make an impact on the program.
If you would’ve walked into a Delta basketball practice this winter, there’s one thing you would always see and hear: Palmer Samuels.
“I wanted to keep being a good teammate,” Samuels said. “Leadership is important in every sport, and I just wanted to keep being around it.”
It’s no shock to Detweiler that he saw Samuels every day at practice.
“Him being at practice is no surprise, it’s who he is,” Detweiler said. “He’s everything you want in a student-athlete. It’s in his DNA. It’s who he is.”
His second injury happened at a football scrimmage over the summer while the Eagles were facing off against the Bulldogs of Centerville
If you’ve ever had a conversation with Samuels, you know that football is his main love and passion. He plans to not only make his return next fall but to excel on the field.
“I want to win a sectional title,” Samuels said. “I’d like to be all-conference, and then we’ll go from there.”
As Samuels makes his return next season, he’ll look to be a leader that his teammates can look up to.
“If I was a player on his team, he’d be someone I’d look up to,” football head coach Chris Overholt said. “He’s been in the worst situation, he’s had to battle back, and it would’ve been very easy to give up, but he’s not doing that.”
Overholt said the injuries may help Samuels through his senior year sports seasons, and even through the rest of his life.
“He has a warrior mentality where he just wants to get better every day,” Overholt said. “He’ll be able to handle anything thrown at him in life because he knows he can do hard things.”