N4A Announces Student-Athletes of the Month for June 2017|
June 28, 2017
As student-athlete development professionals who work with many students from all walks of life on a day-to-day basis, often times we encounter extraordinary stories of individuals overcoming extreme adversities. Although the odds may be stacked against them, these individuals have a drive deep inside them to succeed in the face of overwhelming challenges. It is working with these outstanding young people that makes the job of a student-athlete development professional so rewarding.
In an effort to recognize and celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of these individuals, N4A will highlight one or more student-athletes each month for their determination to achieve success regardless of personal, academic and emotional challenges.
For June, N4A is honored to recognize Erin Radke (University of Iowa) and Jeron Robinson (Texas A&M Kingsville).
Radke's story is one of adversity and resiliency. At the age of 10, and on the same day, Radke experienced two extremely traumatic incidents - the death of her grandmother, and her mother suffering a heart attack and brain injury which left her paralyzed and requiring continuous nursing care. While it was dream come true for her to earn a scholarship to play volleyball at the University of Iowa, it was difficult for Radke to be so far away from her family. And it became even more difficult than she could have imagined. Radke suffered an ACL injury during her freshman year, and encountered frequent and unexpected increases in her heart rate, something she had experienced for a long while. After many years and many medical specialists who were unable to identify the problem, Radke finally learned that she suffered from AV junctional tachycardia, a rare heart condition that puts her at risk of the same fate as her mother. In the hopes of avoiding this risk, Radke has undergone multiple procedures. Through it all, she remains enthusiastic and maintains her infectious positivity. Her resiliency and determination allowed her to continue her athletic career and kept her on pace to graduate with a degree in journalism and mass communication in December 2016.
Robinson did not have an easy path to or through college. As one of three sons with a single mom, Robinson started falling in with the wrong crowd which could have led him down a difficult path in life. However, as one of the best high jumpers in the country, he had the opportunity to go to college and compete in track and field. Unfortunately, a last minute decision to switch schools led to issues with Robinson’s qualifier status for his freshman year. Per NCAA rules, he had to work his way through school to serve a year in residence, and struggled to stay focused in the classroom without his athletic identity. After feeling withdrawn from school after two semesters, he reached a crossroads where he had to decide what he wanted out of life. He elected to return to finish his degree and compete in track and field. Although this choice did not come without struggles along the way, Robinson was able to re-enroll in school and earn his eligibility. He went on to become a “quiet leader” for his teammates and peers, earning four Division II national titles, and became the NCAA Division II record holder for the high jump. Recently, Robinson graduated with his degree in sociology and competed in the 2016 Rio Olympic Trials.
About N4A: N4A, which has been in existence since 1975, is a diverse educational service and professional non-profit organization. Membership of N4A includes academic support and student services personnel who are committed to enhancing opportunities for academic, athletics and personal success for student-athletes. For more information on N4A, visit www.nfoura.org. N4A is administered by NACDA, now in its 53rd year, administers 17 professional associations, including seven for the separate business units that report directly to the athletics directors. For more information on NACDA, visit www.nacda.com.