Published DateLACONIA — A Laconia native, Graham Nyhan began his high school career at Bishop Brady in Concord, a private school that counts both of his parents, Mary and Chip, as graduates. After a couple of years, though, Nyhan asked his parents to let him transfer to his local high school. In the beginning of his junior year, Mary said, she found out why.
During a home football game in the 2011 season, Mary and Chip experienced the longest 23 minutes of their lives. Graham, their oldest of two boys, had been knocked unconscious and was lying on the field in the fetal position, unresponsive. After nearly a half-hour of a parent's worst nightmare, Graham was loaded on to a stretcher and gave a thumbs-up gesture. With that, the previously-silent audience exploded.
"The crowd roaring was of super bowl-dom," Mary recalled. When she, Chip and Graham returned home from the emergency room later that night, their answering machine was full of well-wishes from the superintendent, athletic director, coaches, parents and friends. "The outpouring of support was almost overwhelming," she said. "It confirmed for us our choice of having Graham return to his home school."
Yesterday afternoon, in a room packed with coaches, teammates and high school staff, Graham formally signed his letter intent to attend Stonehill College, in Easton, Mass., where he will receive a partial scholarship to play football and a second partial scholarship to play baseball.
Nyhan said he plans to study either engineering or accounting at Stonehill, a school he decided to attend the moment he began his tour of campus. While he's excited to play on the college's sports teams, he said one of the strongest factors in his decision was the academic opportunities. "Sports isn't going to last forever, education will," he said.
Graham is the child of educators; Mary teaches English at Inter-Lakes High School, Chip is a social studies teacher and coach at Moultonborough Academy.
Graham is the sixth Laconia athlete since 2007 to receive a significant athletic scholarship, according to football coach Craig Kozens. Kozens, as well as baseball coach Jon Myers, described Graham as a versatile player who could excel in nearly any position, as well as team captain who exhibited a relaxed, lead-by-example style.
Said Kozens, "We're going to miss him, he's a good athlete, a great role model for our young kids."
CAPTION for NYHAN SIGNING in AA:
Graham Nyhan, a senior at Laconia High School, yesterday officially signed his letter of intent to attend and play baseball and football at Stonehill College in Easton, Mass.. Shown here at the ceremony, left to right, are football coach Craig Kozens, principal Jim McCollum, baseball coach Jon Myers, Nyhan, and his parents Chip and Mary Nyhan. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Adam Drapcho)