'Bods Giving Back: Washburn holds 3rd annual Special Olympics clinic

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Brody Keil loves shooting hoops.

"I was doing lay-ups, three shots, rebounds,” he said.

He's also a huge Washburn Ichobod fan, making Sunday’s 3rd-annual Special Olympics clinic in Lee Area a slam dunk.

"Brody has Marfan syndrome, so there's a lot of physical problems that he's got,” his mother Jess said. “Special Olympics really does a lot to help kids and adults with special needs to really have a good time just like everybody else would."

The men's basketball team spent the day running athletes through drills and hopping in on the action for some half-court 4-on-4.

"I think the coaches and our Washburn players get as much out of it as the Special Olympic athletes do,” Washburn head men’s basketball coach Brett Ballard said. “It's a very enjoyable day for us just to give back and interact, and the athletes have so much energy and enthusiasm that it makes it fun for us."

"The team was really cool. I got to meet Coach Ballard, and I got to meet Levi Braun,” Brody said. “They're so amazing. Especially Levi, cause him and I are friends."
Braun, a redshirt freshman, graduated from Hayden High — making this day hit a little closer to home.

"It's motivation for a lot of what I do in life knowing that people are looking at me and stuff like that so it feels amazing,” Braun said. "It means a lot. I see them around town a lot, a lot of familiar faces so to just be able to give back, they look up to us a lot, a lot of them said they were at our game last night and just how excited they were, so for us to be able to directly reach out to them up close I think it means a lot to them, and it's just a really good feeling."

The Ichabods won a tightly-contested one-point game the night prior, but that didn't deter them from getting back in the gym the next day.

"We're very blessed to be in this position,” Braun said. “We've been given a lot of opportunities and it's just up to us to give back, use that platform we have to help out."

It’s really not something we take for granted this opportunity that we have,” Ballard said. “We just try to help the athletes have a good time, have a good experience, and hopefully get a little better at basketball."