Sports Illustrated Kids, the popular children’s version of the famous athletics magazine, bestows an annual award to the “SportsKids of the Year.” The 2012 recipients are a pair of Midwestern brothers for their triathlon achievements. Amazingly, one of the brothers is living with a cerebral palsy diagnosis.
Because cerebral palsy causes significant movement disorders, any athletic activity is a big challenge for the thousands of young people affected by this condition in Ohio and around the nation. Walking without assistance is an enormous challenge and many patients require lifelong help with even everyday activities. Sports are often out of the question.
These two brothers did not allow a cerebral palsy diagnosis to get in the way. The older brother, a 9-year-old, decided that he was not going to let his 7-year-old brother miss out on the triathlon experience. Instead, the 9-year-old helped his brother through all three of the grueling stages of their first triathlon.
Using specialized equipment, the brothers pulled and pushed their way through water, up and down a hilly bicycle course and finally over the finish line. Now, a year and a half later, the brothers have competed in numerous races around the country, inspiring thousands of people.
Although this is certainly an uplifting and encouraging story of two determined brothers, these boys also highlight the lifelong challenges that face many cerebral palsy patients. While one brother will continue developing his athletic abilities in high school and beyond, the younger brother will probably always require help with even routine daily tasks.
Source: Sports Illustrated Kids, “2012 SportsKids Of The Year: Conner and Cayden Long,” Gary Gramling, Nov. 20, 2013