Player with special needs makes basket in debut Basketball game

Writer: Jack Lowenstein

A dream came true for an Ida Baker High School Student. In the boys’ basketball team home opener, basketball player Emmanuel Ogelsby debuted in his first game. He took his shot and made the basket.

It’s not often Ogelsby gets to set foot on the court. He is on the autism spectrum, but that doesn’t keep him from being a valued team member and an active one.

“Emmanuel is there for us and we are there for him all the time,” Chris Trout said.

And, when he does set foot on the court, “The whole gym goes nuts,” Troutt said.

Last Thursday was no exception. The Ida Baker Bulldogs were down more than 40 points, so coach Stowe called Ogelsby into the game. He made his shot.

“It’s one of the best feelings in the world,” Troutt said. “I was on the bench at the time, but as soon as he made the basket, I had to run out for him.”

Troutt has known Ogelsby since the fourth grade, and his involvement in Baker Buddies, which pairs students with special needs students, has given him the gift of friendship.

“He’s one of my closest friends,” Troutt said.

Ogelsby has always been supportive of Trout and the team.

“He was always asking me “when is game, when is game?” Trout said. “He said, ‘I want to play.’”

That’s when Chris and other players brought Ogelsby’s wish to coach Todd Stowe.

“I have a son on the autism spectrum,” Stowe said. “When they came to me last year and said Emmanuel wants to play, it wasn’t a question of if, but when and how?”

Stowe said Ogelsby’s next goal is to attend college.

Ogelsby supports his coach when he’s not on the court.

“He comes over to me, rubs my shoulder,” Stowe said.

And Ogelsby tells Stowe, “Calm down coach calm down.”


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