Ex-Penn star gives up his basketball playing career due to health issues.
ELKHART — Former Penn High School basketball standout point guard Tommy Kurth has continued to assist his Valparaiso University teammates at practices and from the bench during games after being deemed last month medically unable to compete.
Kurth, whose winding series of unusual medical setbackswere first detailed by The Elkhart Truth and etruth.com last April, will remain on scholarship at Valpo until he completes his degree requirements next December, but he will not count against the basketball program’s scholarship limit, according to NCAA guidelines.
Kurth, who is majoring in business management, also has been offered a graduate assistant position for next season, according to his father, Elkhart Memorial High School athletic director Frank Kurth.
Tommy Kurth recently called the decision to end his career “bittersweet.”
He cited his multiple surgeries, complications and rehab as events that have left him “no longer able to perform at my highest level of play required for the Division I level,” but added that “although I will be unable to compete on the court, I will continue to be a part of the team and program.”
“(Kurth) has shown a tremendous amount of courage dealing with these health problems,” Valpo coach Bryce Drew said, “and has helped our program win games and improve in many different ways. His health and future are most important, and even though he cannot compete physically, we look forward to having him remain part of our program.”
Among Kurth’s challenges, he had portions of both baby toes amputated in March 2010 to alleviate an issue that began as corns, then about 15 months ago began vomiting regularly as the result of a hiatal hernia that pushed his stomach into his esophagus. He underwent fundoplication surgery for that last March.
Kurth started 23 of the Crusaders’ final 24 games as a true freshman in 2009-10, flashing future promise, then was medically redshirted in 2010-11. He appeared in 13 games last season despite his internal complications.
“It’s been very tough, but God works in mysterious ways and I think Tommy understands that,” Frank Kurth said Wednesday.
Valpo is off to a 5-1 start this season — the lone loss being 50-48 at Nebraska — heading into Sunday’s game at Saint Louis University. Kurth is continuing to travel with the team to road games.