Doucet makes inspirational return; ready to earn diploma


Photo: Gabe Berlean

Ahmad Doucet alongside his aide, David Steele, Wrestling coach and teacher, Frank Baxter, and nurse Leila Younes, is on a mission to earn his high school diploma and graduate as a Firebird. Doucet continues to show his determination and inspire those around him.

By Gabe Berlean & Flyer Staff , Sports Editor

Ahmad Doucet, a senior at Fairmont High School, is a daily reminder that miracles happen. Doucet was involved in a wrestling accident on Father’s day of 2015. While Doucet was practicing with the Ohio National Training Team for Junior National Duals, he suffered a stroke, leaving him paralyzed and unable to verbally communicate.

Doucet continues to progress following the incident, but after countless days in the hospital and over two years of recovery, he was ready to return to his high school to earn his diploma and graduate as a Firebird.

Doucet is accompanied by an aide to help him with his day to day responsibilities as a student. David Steele, a 2010 graduate of Fairmont, was hired on at the beginning of the school year to support Doucet. Steele is with Doucet in all of his classes throughout the day, assisting with homework and class activities.

“His first day, he was a bit fatigued, but he is becoming stronger every day,” Steele said.

His only way of communicating is with the use of his eyes. When asked a yes or no question, he looks up for yes or looks down for no. If he wants to confirm a question or statement, he blinks twice.

When asked by his nurse, Leila Younes, Doucet is sometimes able to move his head. He is also able to make a fist and open his hand. Younes is Doucet’s personal nurse who also attends all of his classes throughout the day.

Doucet said he really enjoys being back at school. When asked about Frank Baxter’s Sports & Society class, Doucet made it visibly obvious that he loves that part of his day. He enjoys learning about the history of sports and being with Coach Baxter.

Doucet is able to do all of his school work with the help of Steele. He uses a spelling board to create words and phrases. The board has letters divided into rows, and Doucet can select the row then the letter.

Steele is impressed with Doucet’s motivation and has seen great improvement over the last six weeks in each of his classes.

“He is an amazing student and gets all of his work done,” Steele said.

Even though Doucet is unable to communicate verbally, he is still involved in all class assignments, projects, and discussions. His teachers call on him and he does the same classwork as everyone else.

Steele is very confident in Doucet and sees great things in the future for him. As his aide, he has set several goals for the school year.

“I would like to see Ahmad graduate and get his diploma, get stronger and keep working hard to accomplish anything that he wants,” Steele said. “The best is yet to come for him.”

Baxter, Doucet’s former wrestling coach and current teacher, has been with him throughout the entire journey. Serving as an official spokesman for his family and continuing to be a mentor and friend to Doucet, he feels very thankful to have Ahmad in his life.

“To see him come back and finish what he started, makes me proud to be his coach,” Baxter said.

According to Baxter, Doucet’s mother, Angela Fisher, has been the most important person throughout this entire affair.

“You want to talk about an advocate for their child, Angela is it. She’s the driving force behind all of this, along with Ahmad’s own toughness and never quit attitude,” Baxter said. “I can’t even put into words how important Angela is in this whole thing.”

With a mother like Fisher, it is of no surprise that Doucet has turned what many would call a very bleak situation, into a positive one. When the accident occured, things seemed irreparable; however, Doucet saw the situation differently.

“There are so many people in this world that want to blame everyone else for their problems. If anyone could be justified in doing that, it could be Ahmad. But he doesn’t,” Baxter said. “I will match his character against anyone’s.”

Doucet demonstrates what it means to be a Firebird student-athlete and will continue to inspire his classmates, teachers, and community members.

“I am biased, but wrestlers are the toughest people on earth,” Baxter said. “Ahmad exemplifies that.”