7-foot-7 Freshman Makes Varsity Basketball Debut (Video)
HS Student With Cerebral Palsy Given Chance to Play in Basketball Game (Video)
At just 9 months old, Mitchell Greathouse was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, but he has never let that stop his joy.
The Freedom High School senior got the opportunity of a lifetime against rival Patton High on Tuesday night, when he was granted an opportunity to play in the game. And while in the game, Greathouse passed to Freedom senior Niguel Moore, who took a dribble and scored.
“Freedom beat Patton 80-57, but the game turned into something that became a twitter hastag: #MitchellsMoment.
“Mitchell is pretty amazing,” said Freedom High teacher Meghan Welty, who has worked closely with him for two years. “He was pretty determined.”
Greathouse, 20, has been an honorary member of a local middle school football team and has led Freedom’s football team and band onto the field before games. He’s thrown out first pitches for Freedom’s baseball team.
But Freedom’s boys’ basketball team is his favorite.
“If there’s a home athletic event, he’s at it,” Freedom boys’ basketball coach Casey Rogers said.
Welty wanted to use Greathouse’s love of Freedom and the boys’ basketball team as a motivation tool. Greathouse is confined to a wheelchair, but as part of his adaptive physical education and physical therapy he’s been using a special walker – also known as a gait trainer – to take steps each day. He could take a maximum of about 25 steps when he started in the fall.
“So,” Welty said, “I got together with (coach Rogers) and said, ‘If he can take 50 steps would you allow him to play?’ He said, ‘Of course.’ ”
The challenge was issued in November. Greathouse met the goal in a day, and Rogers began devising a plan for him to play.”