WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WJBF) – Payton Palmer is a ninth-grader and star athlete at Edmund Burke Academy.

“She was the state champion in the 400. This year, Payton is a back-to-back state champion as she won the high jump with a jump of 5.0,” said track coach, Monika Mobley.

“I want to keep on breaking my personal records and new ones and do better at every single track meet,” said Payton.

Payton has received several awards over the years, but her journey to get to this point wasn’t an easy one.

“Payton was seven-years-old and we had a very bad ice storm here in Burke County and we had a tree fall through our roof and Payton had made her way upstairs. We had no power, we didn’t know she had went upstairs, and she fell through the roof and fell 14 feet to the concrete floor and the next thing you hear is every parent’s worst nightmare,” said Payton’s father, Jesse Palmer.

After her accident, doctors didn’t want Payton to participate in any sports that posed a risk of injury to the head.

“She had suffered a crushed orbital socket, she had a brain bleed, a broken arm, broken ribs,” said Jesse.
Along with the possibility of not competing, she had another challenge ahead of her.

“Learning to read again and learning sight words and learning how to verbalize what she wanted to say; learning to write down what she wanted to say it was so hard and I can remember praying just saying ‘Lord, please just make it easy for her, because it was so hard,'” said Payton’s mother, Christy Palmer.

Payton was able to overcome her obstacles through hard work, the sport that she loved, and family.

Winning state as an eighth grader was the culmination of her journey back to sports.

“When that happened I immediately burst in to tears. As a parent and dealing with the injuries that she had that really the first time that I really thought about what happened to her and how blessed we were that God protected her,” said Jesse.

For Payton Palmer the sky is the limit and she won’t forget those who supported her along the way.

“They mean the world to me, I thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Thank you for always pushing me to be the best person I can be and the best student athlete.