Defying The Odds



Payton Palmer suffered multiple injuries as a result of falling through a ceiling during a 2014 ice storm.

Payton Palmer suffered multiple injuries as a result of falling through a ceiling during a 2014 ice storm.

Payton Palmer’s feat, placing first in the State Champion high jump competition is a testament to her resilience in overcoming personal tragedy.

In addition to the high jump, the ninth-grade Edmund Burke Academy student placed second this year in the 400-meter dash. She placed first last year in the same eventas well, breaking the all-time varsity school record which had previously stood for 20 years. She was also part of the 4-girl 1600 relay team that broke a 20-year school record.

Payton pulled off the extraordinary athletic accomplishments in spite of the fact that her uncle Greg Poteet passed away unexpectedly just two weeks before the State competition. And, amazingly, Payton also overcame multiple physical injuries in order to succeed in her chosen sport.

During the ice storm of 2014, 7-year-old Payton was upstairs when she fell through the ceiling of her parents’ Jesse and Christy Palmer’s home, landing on a refrigerator and then a deep freezer. The fall shattered Payton’s eye socket, facial bones and her ribs. She spent seven days in an intensive care unit.

Payton Palmer during the high jump event.

Payton Palmer during the high jump event.

“It was bad,” her dad said. “She had a slight brain bleed as well.”

Payton endured a long healing process. The in- juries required that she exercise caution when participating in sports for about two years. She couldn’t participate in anything that presented any type of threat of injury to her head. Gradually, she began to feel healed enough to have the confidence to compete again. Since last year, Payton has won multiple awards, including third place in a 200-meter dash in several relay races.

“She looks like an upside U,” her dad said of her impressive high jump form. “It is really amazing how she can bend her body, especially after suffering a brain injury like that.”

The EBA track team finished third overall in the GISA AA State track competition. Payton’s best friend and most motivating team mate, Braelyn Reeves, placed second in the high jump. Jesse gave EBA track coach Monika Mobley credit for her role in his daughter’s success. Payton plays basketball under Mobley as well. He said Mobley is phenomenal at motivating the students to reach their potential. However, Payton also gives the credit to her parents for continuing to inspire her to do her best.

Edmund Burke Academy student Payton Palmer’s first place win in the high jump and second place in the 400-meter dash are a testament to her determination.

Edmund Burke Academy student Payton Palmer’s first place win in the high jump and second place in the 400-meter dash are a testament to her determination.

“They inspire me to be the best that I can be and push me,” she said.

Payton’s dad couldn’t be prouder. He admits he cried when she won first place in the 400-meter dash last year.

“With those kinds of injuries, you don’t expect her to be able to accomplish those things,” he said.

Payton said she hopes to compete at Georgia Southern University after high school. In the meantime, she plans to keep breaking her personal records by continuing to strive for her best.

Best friends Braelyn Reeves (l) placed second and Payton Palmer (r) placed first in the high jump event during the GISA Double A State track competition.

Best friends Braelyn Reeves (l) placed second and Payton Palmer (r) placed first in the high jump event during the GISA Double A State track competition.

ALL Braelyn Reeves, left, and Payton Palmer, right, share an emotional moment during the GISA Double A State track competition.

ALL Braelyn Reeves, left, and Payton Palmer, right, share an emotional moment during the GISA Double A State track competition.

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