Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

‘Air Kevin’ - The One Armed Basketball Star

17 Feb 2011When Kevin Laue’s mother was pregnant with him, she and his father were expecting a healthy baby. But during his development in his mother’s womb, Kevin’s umbilical cord became wrapped around his neck and arm, a restriction in blood circulation occurred, causing him to be born without the lower half of his left arm.

Growing up in Pleasanton, California, Kevin’s dad was always pushing him to be the best at sport, keen to please his dad, he always strived to achieve.

When Kevin was six years old, his mother and father divorced. Sadly, four years later, Kevin’s father died from cancer.

Despite enduring some bullying at school, Kevin always tried to fit in with the other kids. He was used to being noticed for looking different, but he began to stand out on the basketball court as well, by the time he was fully grown, Kevin stood at almost seven feet tall and wore size 17 shoes.

Regardless of people’s reactions, Kevin dreamt what most people thought, was an impossible dream, someday, playing division one basketball.

However, Kevin faced his biggest set-back during his senior year in high school, when he broke his leg, missing out on most of the games in his final year at school. Once his leg had healed, Kevin conspired with a coach from a rival school, to enhance his skills.

Coach McKnight saw something special in Kevin, with his brilliant ability to block the ball and use his bony left arm stump or ‘the nub’ as he calls it, as a defence tool, by poking people in the ribs and back. Coach McKnight encouraged him to enrol as a post graduate at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.

Once he completed his time with the Military Academy, his fellow classmates were offered scholarships, Kevin was the only one who didn’t receive one. He thought all hope was lost, and that he wouldn’t be able to fulfil his dream, to become a well known sports icon, like his idol Jim Abbott, who was a Baseball Pitcher, born with the lower half of his right arm missing.

Before resigning to the fact that he may never be able to maintain his late-father’s wishes for high sports achievement, 19 year old Kevin, was offered a scholarship by Barry Rohrssen, the head coach for the Manhattan Jaspers, a division one college basketball team. He was to begin by playing a few minutes in each game, which was set to change once his profile expanded.

Kevin is now one of the most inspiring and well known disabled sportsmen of today, he said in one of his many interviews, “Don’t give up, do what you want to do” and something that I think most people in the disability community can relate to, “If you tell someone with a disability that they can’t do something, it just makes them want to try twice as hard”.

Kevin’s story has been followed by film maker, Franklin Martin, who has turned it into a documentary that was released last year, called ‘Long Shot – The Kevin Laue Story’. To learn more about Kevin and the documentary he is in, visit: www.thekevinlauestory.com

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