Decatur High School senior Dominique Cooks isn’t just battling a life-threatening brain tumor – he’s inspiring everyone around him.
USA TODAY selected Cooks as one of the 2014 National Guard USA TODAY High School Sports Inspirational Athletes of the Year. A panel from USA High School Sports selected the top 100 athletes based on their stories and profiles, and now it’s up to the public. Each of the seven regions will vote for their top two by March 31, who will then move on to semifinals round on April 2. You can vote for Cooks as many times as you want by clicking here.
Once an active athlete, Cooks was a football, basketball and track star at his school. But one day in the spring of 2012, Cooks’ coach noticed that he was having trouble catching the basketball with his left hand. Cooks’ left side began to feel numb and less nimble. And when that numbness never went away he got an MRI. That was when the doctors discovered the tumor on his brain. Sitting on his brain, Cooks’ malignant tumor is inoperable. This fall his doctors gave him three to six months to live.
“Dom” as his friends call him, is doing his best to make every day count. His school even arranged a special graduation ceremony for him.
Sometimes he does the school’s morning announcements and he includes words of inspiration. He’s done motivational speaking at Saghalie Middle School and a number of elementary schools in the Federal Way area. And he was even appointed to Decatur’s Associated Student Body.
Cooks remains positive and he’s touching the lives of many along the way.
If Cooks wins the final round in mid-April, he will receive the prize of 2014 National Guard Most Inspirational Athlete. He will be the subject of a feature article in the USA TODAY High School Sports section, will receive an inspiration trophy with an in-school presentation and a $1,000 donation to the school’s athletic department.
*A special thanks to Casey Olson and the Federal Way Mirror who first reported this article and shared their photo of Cooks.