COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio State University wide receiver Kamryn Babb has plenty of past experience as a team captain.
“I think Kamryn’s little league team when he just started playing football, they named him captain,” said Kamryn’s stepmom, Amanda Babb. “And then he was captain of his high school team, and so it’s like a natural progression for him.”
But when his family got the phone call that he had been named a Buckeye team captain, it hit differently.
“Well, I was driving and he didn’t warn me, so I started crying,” said Kamryn’s mom, Alana Templeton. “It’s hard to put into words. I knew what it meant for him.”
Just five months earlier, Kamryn’s family had received a different but familiar phone call: he had torn an ACL for the fourth time.
“Unbelievable, man,” said Kamryn, reflecting on what it was like when he got the news in March. “I couldn’t believe it when it happened, just because I felt so good and nobody has been able to see what I can do.”
“It was kinda like, “Ugh! Gosh!’ You know?” said his father, Tyrone. “The air was let out of the balloon or something.”
“It was heartbreaking,” said Templeton. “He’s like, ‘Mom, I don’t know if I can do this again,’ and I said, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to.’ I said, ‘You will know the day that it’s done.’ I said, ‘What’s your heart telling you?’ And he said, ‘I’m not done.’ I said, ‘Don’t give up.’”
So as Kamryn’s Buckeye teammates returned to the field, he returned to rehabbing the knee, and contributed not with catches, but with his voice and giving confidence to his teammates.
“Something that’s a mark of a lot of successful people is the ability to be resilient and bounce back from adversity, and failure and emotional pain, and he is like the epitome of that,” said Ohio State football head coach Ryan Day. “He got up in front of the team and talked about how he did do that and stayed positive. He’s an unbelievable leader. He set a standard.”
It did not go unnoticed. When Kamryn needed confidence, his teammates were there for him.
“When he talks, we listen,” said Ohio State safety Ronnie Hickman, who has also had to come back from an ACL injury. He even did rehab alongside Kamryn years ago. “He was definitely on my vote to be captain. We’re all behind him and we’re all for him. He’s nothing but an inspiration for the rest of the guys on the team. We love him.”
“You know, I’m just thankful that I can leave my mark on guys and be there and support and just be the captain and the leader that I need to be,” Kamryn said. “I just want to play my part, whatever that may look like this year.”
“He has said that several times, ‘What impact can I leave when I leave Ohio? You know, what is my name going to mean here?’” said Templeton. “He has made an impact.”