Sports Illustrated selects teen as first 'High School Athlete of the Year'

By  | 

BEDFORD, Mich. (WTVG) - Sports Illustrated has selected Bedford, Michigan teen Hunter Gandee as the magazine's first ever "High School Athlete of the Year."

Gandee, a sophomore, has over the last two summers carried his little brother Braden dozens of miles on his back. Braden has cerebral palsy and has mobility issues.

In 2014 Hunter embarked on the CP Swagger to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. He carried Braden from Bedford Junior High School's wrestling room to the University of Michigan's wrestling room. That's a forty-mile trek.

In 2015 he want even further, traveling over 50 miles. Both times the brothers garnered national attention and viral social media support. The effort was so successful that The CP Swagger was able to inspire fundraising of $200,000 to build an all inclusive playground at Braden's elementary school.

Hunter is a high school wrestler for Bedford.

"Sometimes you lose in wrestling. That teaches me that you lose but you have to get right back up," said Gandee when asked what the sport of wrestling has taught him. "You have another match, maybe the next day, the next week, but you will have another match. You have to get back up and go to battle one more time at least."

Gandee also had advice for other kids hoping to follow in his inspirational footsteps. "If kids really want to make a difference they have to look inside themselves and find something they're passionate about. I really I truly love my brother."

Gandee will be featured in the Sportsperson of the Year issue of the magazine that hits stands on December 21st. He will also participate in a special dinner in New York City to honor the athletes featured in the magazine. Serena Williams was selected as the Sportsperson of the Year and is on the cover.