Ben Comen, a 16-year-old junior at T.L. Hanna High School in Anderson, has  cerebral palsy. But, that doesn't stop him from running on the cross country  team. He usually finishes last, but he finishes. His teammates and even  members of other teams, go back out after they finish the race and run in  behind Ben.  HERE> For Ben, falling is a normal part of his races. In this  race he fell 6 times, but that does not discourage him. He fell coming down  the home stretch with his friends around him. They helped him to his feet,  held on to him as he regained his stability and then followed him to the  finish line.  PHOTO BY TIM DOMINICK   10/29/2003

Ben Comen – Giving His All For a Place to Belong

When 18-year-old Ben Comen was born with cerebral palsy, his parents thought that their son would never walk. However, Ben saw things differently. His greatest desire was to have a place to belong, and for that Ben was willing to overcome his physical limitations and not just walk but run!

Throughout his childhood, Ben tried to participate in different sports. But it was a struggle for him, because coaches would leave him on the bench or only let him help on the sidelines. Then, in 8th grade, Ben decided to try out for his high school’s cross-country team. This time, the coach put him on the team despite his disability. And when he did, both Ben and the team got more they ever imagined – his team got an amazing source of inspiration, and Ben finally got his wish…….a place to belong!

This video tells Ben’s incredible story.

Additional Resources:

  • Here is an interview with Ben in which he describes his inspiration for running.
  • Here is an article that tells more about Ben and his tremendous story.

Topics for Discussion:

  • What do you think motivates Ben to keep getting up every time he falls?
  • What would it be like if you had cerebral palsy? How would your life be different?

Take Action:

  • Visit the My Child with Cerebral Palsy website to learn more about cerebral palsy and what you can do to help people with this condition.
  • Visit the Athletes with Disabilities Network website to learn more about these amazing athletes and how you can support them!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.

 

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