A Hanover teenager has overcome some big obstacles and is being honored for his unique talents.
Blake Rush, a senior at Lee Davis High School, will graduate next week and will soon be off to Edinboro University of a basketball scholarship.
But Rush’s story is different than your average athletes. The 18-year-old was born with spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair his entire life.
Eight years ago, when his friends started playing basketball, he didn’t want to be left out.
He discovered Sportable, a local non-profit working to transform the lives of people with disabilities through sports.
“We only had three athletes out at that time and they were quite little and young so it was hard for them to even make the basket,” says Sportable Executive Director Kristen Lessig.
Even though it was challenging, Rush began practicing and he was determined not to let people feel sorry for him because of his wheelchair.
“I wanted something competitive,” he says. “I didn’t wanna be taken easy on. I like being the point guard because you kinda control everything that’s going on on the court.”
Rush’s hard work turned into competitive play and wheelchair basketball camps around the country.
Eventually, the coach of Edinboro University found out about Blake and in the fall, the 18-year-old will begin attending the Pennsylvania school on scholarship.
“I’m just really proud of Blake,” Lessig says. “He’s worked really hard. It’s not easy and he’s done an amazing job”
Rush says he never dreamed he’d end up being a college athlete and hopes it’s just the beginning of a whole new chapter.
“My dream one day is to be on the U.S. national team,” he says.
“I can see paralympics in his future for sure,” Lessig says.
Eight universities in the country have wheelchair basketball. Rush will play against all of them.
For more information on Sportable, visit sportable.org.
Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond