Katie Shea of RHAM High School in Hebron and Steve Daniels of Southington have been named co-recipients of the Bob Casey Courage Award by the Connecticut Sports Writers’ Alliance.
Shea, a senior volleyball player at RHAM and a resident of Amston, was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis, an autoimmune disorder affecting the brain.
She would at times be hospitalized for several weeks and suffer frightening bouts of confusion early in her junior year, which kept her from both playing volleyball and achieving at the high level she was used to academically.
She would triumphantly return to the volleyball court late in her junior season, and has since been a key contributor to the Sachems’ success in winning back-to-back Class L state championships.
Daniels, 60, has used his labor of love – keeping statistics for Southington High School's athletic teams – to help him cope with debilitating health challenges.
He endured cervical vertebral fusion surgery in 2012 and fusion spine cervical anterior surgery a year later. As a result, he’s been relegated to a walker and his voice reduced to a whisper, yet he negotiates obstacles at fields and gyms, focusing on his love for Southington sports rather than his own problems. He missed just the 2013 baseball season and the first four games of the 2013 football season.
Daniels graduated from Southington in 1975. He began keeping football stats in 1988, boys basketball in 1993-94, baseball in 2006 and girls basketball in 2011-12. He was named a John Wentworth Good Sport by the Connecticut Sports Writers' Alliance in 2000.
The Courage Award is named in honor of the late Bob Casey, a former New Haven Register sportswriter and public relations director for the NHL’s Hartford Whalers, who passed away from cancer in 1994.
She and Daniels will be honored at the 77th annual Gold Key Dinner at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington on Sunday, April 29, 2018. Gold Key Award recipients will be PGA golf professional Dennis Coscina, former Granby Memorial High School field hockey coach Dot Johnson, New Canaan High School football coach Lou Marinelli, newly-retired UConn women’s soccer coach Len Tsantiris and Olympic ice hockey gold medalist Gretchen Ulion-Silverman.
Tickets to the Gold Key Dinner are $75 apiece, and may be reserved by contacting CSWA President Tim Jensen of Patch Media Corp. at email@example.com or 860-394-5091, or Vice President Rich Gregory of the Danbury News-Times at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-705-8625.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Bo Kolinsky Journalism Scholarship, named after a longtime Hartford Courant sportswriter and past CSWA president who died unexpectedly in 2003.