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2018-01-09 / Sports

DA’s Jasper Koota, to be Featured on NYSPHSAA’s Captains Club

By Rosie Cunningham


From left to right: Kristen Jadin, NYSPHSAA Director of Special Programs, Jasper Koota, Delaware Athletic Director Jeff Ferrarra and Chris Watson, NYSPHSAA Director of Communications pose at DA on Monday. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter From left to right: Kristen Jadin, NYSPHSAA Director of Special Programs, Jasper Koota, Delaware Athletic Director Jeff Ferrarra and Chris Watson, NYSPHSAA Director of Communications pose at DA on Monday. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter NEW YORK - “There are 500,000 student athletes in New York State and so many of these kids have such incredible stories and we wanted to share those stories,” said Kristen Jadin, NYSPHSAA (New York State Public High School Athletic Association) Director of Special Programs.

Captains Club, presented by NYSCOPBA (NY State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association), is just a small way for NYSPHSAA to recognize inspirational student athletes, coaches, teams, and programs across New York State and each month, one of the above mentioned is featured via video through interviews of the students, teammates coaches and additional individuals and posted to the NYSPHSAA website, as well as You Tube.


Jasper Koota has been selected to be a part of the “Captains Club” due to his overcoming of adversity as a student/athlete. 
Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Jasper Koota has been selected to be a part of the “Captains Club” due to his overcoming of adversity as a student/athlete. Rosie Cunningham/The Reporter Representatives from NYSPHSAA selected 16-year-old Jasper Koota, a junior at DA, to be featured in the February Captains Club episode. Koota, a Delhi resident, is a two-sport athlete, involved in tennis and soccer. His February story focuses on his passion for soccer and obstacles which he has faced during his varsity career on the field. Koota was looking forward to his varsity season as a freshman and he was expected to be a key member of the squad. However, his ninth grade year did not quite go as well as expected.

“They select student-athletes who have gone through adversity,” said Koota, one of two representatives for Section IV for the NYSPHSAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. “In ninth grade, I came home from camp one day and found that I had a golf ball sized lump on my neck. My mom brought me to the hospital and a biopsy on the growth was taken. It came back benign, but my troubles with my thyroid began.”

Through the hormones it produces, the thyroid gland influences almost all of the metabolic processes in your body. Thyroid disorders can range from a small, harmless goiter (enlarged gland) that needs no treatment to lifethreatening cancer. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too much thyroid hormone results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Insufficient hormone production leads to hypothyroidism.

“Initially, I had hyperthyroidism and I lost weight in a very short period of time, I had heart palpations and I was exhausted,” said Koota. “Then I had hypothyroidism and gained more than 20 pounds in a short period of time. They didn’t initially put me on medication. When I was put on medication, it took time for my thyroid to stabilize.”

His sophomore year was a different story - he was a top contender in the MAC League (MAC ALL Conference Selection): He scored 22 goals and had 15 assists, playing a key role in the success of the DA season and the Bulldogs took the field in the sectional finals.

Koota couldn’t wait to come out of the gates and have an excellent season his junior year. But disaster struck again in early September and during a game in Mayor’s Cup which takes place in Stamford each year, Koota tore both his ACL and meniscus.

“It was during the third game of the season,” he said. “It was very disappointing.”

But Koota, who seems to be a glass full to the brim kind of kid, remained positive despite having to stay on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

“I had surgery October 20 and I am about 10 weeks out,” he said. “My knee feels good and it is definitely progressing. I am doing PT and the plan is that I will begin running in April.”

Koota said he will be working hard to take the field his senior year.

“Soccer has always been an escape for me - I have been playing the sport since I have been two years old,” he said. “For 80 minutes, nothing else matters.”

“His first word was ball,” said his mother Raelle Koota.

“As an athlete, Jasper is quick, decisive and determined,” said DA soccer coach Brian Rolfe. “He has a good grasp of what needs to be done as an athlete. He knows what the game plan is before he takes the field and executes the plan. He suggests changes to the game plan and is a coach on the field.”

Rolfe added that as a young man, Koota is “top notch.”

“He holds all the qualities a teacher wants to see in a student,” he added. “As a friend, Jasper goes out of his way to make others feel good.”

According to Jadin, Captains Club started out as a leadership opportunity for student-athletes, before turning into so much more.

“I found that the kids had such relatable struggles,” she said. “Many look up to student-athletes and I wanted to show that there is so much more than just playing on a field - the stories of the students and what they have faced, teaches others the intangible.”

Jadin said she met Koota through the student-athlete advisory committee which entails conference calls four times a year.

“Initially, Captains Club started as a webinar before turning to video,” she said.

“It has evolved and has improved and will continue to,” said Chris Watson, NYSPHSAA director of communications. “We want to continue to tell more stories like Jasper’s, the kind of stories that can inspire others.”

“There’s so many incredible kids out there, let’s showcase them,” added Jadin.

Individuals can visit www.nysphsaa.org to nominate or enter themselves as potential candidates for Captains Club. Also, more information can be found on the website and the NYSPHSAA Newsletter.

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