Tuesday, June 2, 2009
We have all heard the line they just don't make them like they used to. Well it certainly applies to former University of Kentucky Men's Basketball player Vernon Hatton. During the 1956-57 season Hatton overcame considerable adversity to help UK win the Sugar Bowl Tournament. The adversity was an inflamed appendicitis, which was misdiagnosed before the final two games of the tournament. Despite feeling ill Hatton added 12 points against a troublesome Virginia Tech and 17 points against Houston in the Championship game.
Upon returning to Lexington following the tournament "the attacks began anew and an immediate operation was ordered to remove his appendix, which doctors said was acutely inflamed and in a condition that should have prevented him from seeing action for at least a week previously," reported Ken Kuhn of the Sports Publicity Office on July 2, 1957.
Hatton returned to action a month after his surgery helping prevent an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Mississippi. A reporter was so impressed with Hatton's performance that he wrote, "It may become standard procedure for Rupp players to have appendix operations in mid-season." Vernon scored 14 points in less than twelve minutes for the Cats that day.