Junior Raptors team members are 1st row (bottom row) - Jaxson Quinn, Sebastian Thome; 2nd row - Daniel Johnson, Joshua DaPore, Madison Grigsby 3rd row (top row) - Caleb Walker, Carly Webster. CONTRIBUTED

Athletes with disabilities to take on their doctors in basketball game

Kristy Thome is one busy lady as the Village of Enon’s Administrative Assistant and the Clerk of Court, but during her free time she has even more hats to wear.

Thome is a wife and mother of three. Daughter Chelsea is an occupational therapist working in this area and son David has completed his tour in the U.S. Army and now attends OSU. Youngest child Sebastian is a freshman at Greenon.

Somehow in her spare time she is president of Miami Valley Adapted Sports and vice president of the Miami Spina Bifida organization.

Miami Valley Adapted Sports helps to create recreational opportunities for those living with physical disabilities such as paralysis, amputees, cerebral palsy, birth defects, spina bifida, and more. Athletes need not be wheelchair bound, but have disabilities that “disqualify them from playing an able-bodied sport.”

Thome got involved with the organization while searching for fun and recreational activities for Sebastian who is living with Spina Bifida.

Since then, Sebastian has earned a letter playing wheelchair basketball on the Junior Raptors, a team sponsored by Miami Valley Adapted Sports. Members of this team are coed, between the ages of 8 and 18 years, and come from all over the area including Piqua, Kettering, Enon, and Englewood.

Last season the Junior Raptors played the Vandalia Police and participated in tournaments in Indiana, Michigan and Tennessee.

This coming Sunday afternoon, April 7, the Junior Raptors wheelchair basketball team will play the Dayton Children’s Hospital orthopedic doctors and staff at Indian Valley gym.

Thome said that this game promises to be even more fun for the athletes who will be facing off with their own doctors on the court.

“This is a good opportunity for kids to get to know their doctors outside of the office because normally when they meet there is a lot of anxiety,” said Thome.

The patient/athletes enjoy exchanging some good natured “trash talk” with their physicians before and after the game.

“It is also good for the doctors and staff to get to know the athletes out in the community,” she said.

As she explained this event also builds community awareness of exciting opportunities available for students living with physical challenges. The team activities are available to Ohio residents as far east as Columbus and west to the state line. Athletes play with the team that is physically closest to their homes.

Preparing for the upcoming sports event Thome has unleashed her creative organizing skills to make this more than just a fundraising game.

The doors at Indian Valley will open at 2:30 p.m. Sunday to give folks a chance to check out nearly a dozen vendors, enjoy a snack with the concessions, and sign up for one of the many raffles.

The items being raffled include special swag donated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. A shirt, a hat, notepad, pen, pencil, wrist bracelet and a mini basketball fill the basket.

Other items to be raffled include themed fun baskets, Tickets to Cincinnati Zoo, COSI tickets, and much more.

Proceeds from this event will go to support the Junior Raptors’ expenses including registration for games, and tournaments, fees for officials, gym rentals, transportation, etc.

“I want it to be possible that every child who wants to play sports can,” Thome said.

The game will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday at Indian Valley Gym, 510 South Xenia Drive in Enon.

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