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Miracle League To Debut Wheelchair-Friendly Sports Complex

A northwest Houston YMCA offers a sports program designed for children with special needs. Tomorrow, they’re unveiling a new wheelchair-friendly sports complex.

two boys high-five one another
Miracle League participants interacting with their Buddies. Photo credit: the YMCA of Greater Houston

 

For three years, kids in the Miracle League have been playing baseball at the Langham Creek Family YMCA.

The sports program is designed for special needs children. Everybody scores, and there are no winners or losers. Some players get around on walkers or wheelchairs. They’re assisted by their Miracle League Buddies, volunteers who cheer on and help players throughout the games. 

Adam Spiegel is Youth Development Director at the YMCA. He says they wanted to give all kids a chance to play sports, but their baseball field could get muddy and slippery.

“So they would always need assistance to actually help them move,” Spiegel says. “Not easy for a wheelchair or a walker.”

Now, Spiegel is prepping to debut a new sports complex for the Miracle League. The $3.9 million facility features two baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts and a playground. They’re all made with a special non-slip surface that’s easier to navigate on wheelchairs and walkers. Spiegel hopes it’ll open up new opportunities.

“The field is squared off and it’s larger in the outfield so that we’ll be able to play soccer, and we’ll be able to play flag football,” he says.

The new complex is located alongside other sports facilities at the YMCA. Spiegel says he wanted to keep the Miracle League integrated with the rest of the community. 

“Sometimes I feel maybe a special needs parent might feel segregated, so this is a great opportunity,” he says. “They want to be able to root their kids on as they round the bases or swing for the fences or throw the ball. That’s what this provides.”

Houston’s Miracle League began in 2012 with just 10 players. It’s grown to more than 100. They’re currently recruting volunteers to help with the upcoming baseball season. 

 

congratulating player
League participants interacting with their Buddies

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

Tomeka Weatherspoon

Senior Producer

Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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