From the sidelines – Six-year-old signs with King University


By Marty Gordon

I have always talked about how sports can be a good distraction from the world’s problems, and nothing illustrates that truth more than one of last week’s collegiate announcements on National Signing Day.

Six-year-old Sage Crews is a big fan of King University (Bristol) basketball and has been attending games since last year. The Abingdon youngster is a typical kid who loves playing basketball. He became involved with the university through Team IMPACT, an organization that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams.

Crews is battling “Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy,” a progressive neuromuscular disorder. His mother said so far it has not slowed him down.

The medical profession calls DMD “rare” with fewer than 200,000 US cases per year. Treatment can help, but this condition can’t be cured. The average life expectancy is 26 years.

Symptoms are described as frequent falls, trouble getting up or running, waddling gait, big calves and learning disabilities.

Physical therapy and medications, such as corticosteroids, can help control the symptoms and improve the quality of life.

For now, Crews is not letting the disease slow him down. King players and coaches say he brings tons of energy to practice.

Wednesday, Crews signed a “ceremonial” letter of intent with King University in the school’s cafeteria. Way to go, King coach George Pitts!

Crews wore a King No. 1 basketball jersey and was joined by his parents, just like many other players around the country on National Signing Day.

For a moment, Crews forgot his problems. For a moment, he was just like other basketball players signing a letter to continue his playing career in college.

The King players had big smiles on their faces as they made the day for this youngster. I honestly can’t tell you who got the most from the announcement.

Another example took place at Cassell Coliseum Sunday. The Hokie basketball team didn’t take the court, but more than 100 Special Olympic athletes from Southwest Virginia did.

Hokie basketball players watched from the sidelines, and cheerleaders led the teams onto the court.

Sports can definitely provide a distraction to what is often the hard times of life.