Coach Brings Special Needs Basketball Player Off Bench For Final Shot Of The Game…

The Norman High School Lady Tigers basketball team is elated after winning a big game against their arch rivals last Friday night.  One of their players is on top of the world! 

Lainy Fredrickson is a senior with special needs and always has encouraged the Lady Tigers. So when the big-hearted senior asked head coach Mike Neal if she could join the team, he said “yes.”  “She always puts a smile on everybody’s face,” Neal said. “You know your day is going to be better just from coming into contact with her.”

Special needs inclusion

As a small child, Lainy survived a brain tumor that left her with lasting developmental challenges. Despite that, Lainy has a love for life!  Because of her positive attitude, she was just what the Lady Tigers varsity team needed.

The girls on the team welcomed Lainy into their family, “The team chemistry is something amazing,” Derrick Watts, a special education teacher, and assistant girls basketball coach said. “The girls really took Lainy in with open arms. They talk to her in the halls, they eat lunch with her, when we’re not doing drills, they come over and give her pointers.”

Special needs inclusion

The girls on the team approached Neal and Watts with a heartwarming proposition, they wanted their friend Lainy to score the final point during their game Friday night.

With only a few minutes to spare, Lainy walked onto the court and led her team to victory. The second she scored the winning point, the entire gym burst into thunderous applause. 

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