Most children at the Shriners Hospital of Houston have medical probems that prevent them from playing sports, but for one day a year they all become basketball stars.
For many of these kids this is the only sporting event they’ll be involved in. Volunteers at Houston’s Shriners Hospital are coaching the patients in a 21-shot Basketball Tournament. Ed Homrighausen is the director of volunteers at the hospital. He says the tournament has been a tradition for 23 years and right now about 50 children are participating.
Children at Shriners Hospital have orthopedic problems, anything dealing with muscles, bones or joints. The children are treated free of charge and often have serious medical conditions such as cerebral palsy or spina bifida. Arelys Iglesias turns 16 on Monday and will remain in the hospital for a couple months. Her legs are two different lengths, so she is undergoing a procedure to lengthen one leg. She has always been athletic and usually plays sports for Lamar High School, so this tournament is a welcome diversion.
The tournament is sponsored by the Shook, Hardy and Bacon law firm. Lynne Eckels is with the firm and says every year the employees look forward to playing with the kids.
Coach Arland Dean started the tournament 23 years ago. Dean was a long-time volunteer at the Shriners Hospital and volunteered 9,000 hours with the children. He passed away in 2000 and the tournament is held every year in his honor.