Professional basketball player Kyle Kuric firmly believes that how you see life — physically and mentally — can drastically impact your success. After being diagnosed with several brain tumors, receiving a skull implant and grappling with poor eyesight, Kyle continued to stay positive. He always believed with hard work and a bright outlook, anything could be achieved.
“I’ve played basketball for as long as I can remember,” says Kuric, who might be best known for leading the Louisville Cardinals to a win in the last game Louisville played at Freedom Hall. “I grew up in Indiana where everyone played basketball. I started playing and focusing only on basketball when I was a sophomore in high school, and I realized it was the sport I wanted to play when I was shooting free throws in the gym wearing my baseball uniform before a game.”
That sense of passion and determination didn’t fade with graduation. After going on to play ball at the University of Louisville, Kyle and his then-fiancé moved to Madrid where he started playing the game professionally. Now with eight years of experience to his name, Kyle has climbed the ranks and is growing to become a household name. And while it may be tempting to view Kyle’s story as a straight climb to the top, that’s certainly not the case. His success came with plenty of obstacles.
Not long ago, Kyle received the grim diagnosis that he had several brain tumors. “Looking back on it, I was very matter-of-fact about it,” he says. “I wasn’t emotional at all — just like, ‘I have a brain tumor, and we will take care of it.’”
After his first surgery, he thought he could make the next game. That assumption proved false as he soon realized the tough road that lay ahead. “I didn’t realize how serious it all really was. But I think that benefitted me,” he says. “I was always positive about the situation and always believed I would recover quickly. I didn’t discover it until later that it would be months rather than days or weeks until I would be able to play again.”
Maintaining a positive mindset — and putting in the necessary recovery time and work — eventually allowed Kyle to get back on the court in an impressive five months. Physically weak but mentally strong, Kyle says his transition back to the sport was hallmarked by one salient drive: his will to play. Last September, Kyle helped lead his team to their first-ever championship. He was also named the MVP.
“Anyone who has any success in any field always credits their work ethic,” Kyle points out. “I shoot extra shots before and after practice. I eat healthy to take care of my body. I lift to make sure I’m as strong as I need to be.”
Another part of that puzzle, Kyle says, is maintaining good health across all domains of his body — especially his eyesight. Plagued by poor vision for much of his life, Kyle knew getting LASIK surgery would improve his game in the long run. Kyle decided to have LASIK laser vision correction with Dr. John Meyer of The Eye Care Institute. This was on the recommendation of his sister, Dr. Katie Kuric, a former U of L women’s soccer player. She had also had LASIK with Dr. Meyer at The Eye Care Institute.
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“On the court, LASIK has helped me in many ways,” Kyle says. “I started noticing my eyes getting really dry when I was playing with contacts, and it was affecting how I could see. Since the surgery, I don’t have any problems with dry eyes. Another reason was [that I was] getting poked in the eye and losing a contact. I would either have to find it on the ground and clean it extremely well or go back into the locker room and put in a new one. Both took away my time playing in the game. Off the court I love being able to wake up in the morning and see — not having to go to the bathroom and put in contacts. I can get up and see instantly.”
Coupled with his nonstop drive, Kyle’s vision for his career — and his life — is stronger than ever. His best piece of advice to anyone looking to achieve a lofty goal or overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge? Stay positive — even when it seems impossible. “It got me through three brain surgeries and recovered in less than half the time the doctors told me,” Kyle says. “How you see things — your outlook — is one of the biggest advantages you can give yourself.”
This article is sponsored by The Eye Care Institute. All photography provided by Kyle Kuric.