Top of the Morning, May 16, 2018

Top of the Morning, May 16, 2018

While playing football at Watseka, HAYDEN SCHAUMBURG always wanted to be invited to the Illinois High School Shrine Game.

Four years after suffering a career-ending spinal cord injury, he's getting his wish.

The resilient 19-year-old is the featured banquet speaker at the 44th annual all-star game in Bloomington. He'll address 85 of the state's best players on June 15 in an event that raises money for Shriners Hospital for Children.

"I always thought it'd be awesome to play there," he said. "Obviously, that didn't happen. But it's still awesome to be there in a different way."

Schaumburg, injured during a game in 2014, has made a remarkable recovery that started at Shriners in Chicago. He'll always have plates and rods "basically holding my neck together," he said Tuesday, but "people can't tell that it happened."

A farm-management major who is on track to graduate from the University of Illinois in December 2019, Schaumburg is helping his dad, CLINT, farm 2,000 acres just north of Watseka. Soon, he'll begin an internship at Granular in Champaign.

Public speaking is old hat for a kid with a powerful message. Last October, he wowed a crowd of about 600 at a Medtronics convention in Memphis, Tenn.

While he's still mulling over what to say in Bloomington, "I'll talk about self-motivation," he said, "about being driven. It's special to me to have the opportunity."