An assistant boys basketball coach in Indiana has provided an inspirational boost to his team.
Cloverdale (Ind.) assistant coach Karl Turk was diagnosed with a life-changing condition as a teenager that forced him to give up playing basketball, but he has stayed involved.
As Indianapolis’ RTV6-TV tells it, Turk was diagnosed with transverse myelitis when he was just 14 years old. The condition prevents his spinal cord from sending signals to his brain and lower extremities.
He walks with a cane, but that doesn’t stop him from keeping up with the players on the team or students in the school’s hallways.
“I’ve heard students comment, ‘Oh, I forgot you even had an issue,'” Turk told RTV6. “I’ll fall in practice or something like that, but at the same time I’ve had students tell me ‘Wow, the fact that you keep getting up…’ it’s gone both ways.”
For games, Turk wears a hard hat and gives special handshakes to each member of the starting lineup as they come out.
“It’s very energizing,” junior point guard Jaylen Moore told RTV6. “It gets us pumped up, it gets the fans pumped up. It’s actually a really cool thing.”
“There are times I think I can’t go anymore and then I’ll look at him, and I can go another mile,” senior Cooper Neese said. “He’s been a big inspiration to me.”
Cloverdale lost to Northeastern (Fountain City, Ind.) 67-59 in the playoffs on Saturday to finish 21-7.
Turk, a former head coach at West Oso (Corpus Christi, Texas), has been key to the team’s success.
“He brought that belief to dream bigger,” Cloverdale coach Patrick Rady told RTV6. “And I think that was important for us, and I think you definitely see it with our kids. They’re not satisfied to win three sectional titles in a row, they want more.”