Brendan West’s life has been anything but “normal” since the day he was born.
He was born with Roberts syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes delayed development of facial features and limbs. Because of this, Brendan was born without arms and uses a wheelchair. He is also missing the corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects the left and right hemispheres, causing further intellectual delays.
Life got a little sweeter for Brendan once he entered junior high. The local Special Olympics Texas coach took notice of him and recruited him to join the program. Coach Jeff Green worked to teach Brendan how to use his feet to play basketball. Starting by placing the ball between Brendan’s feet, Coach Green taught him how to arc the ball and follow through with his shot.
With that, Brendan was suddenly making shots from all around the court!
“He does every drill you see the other kids doing,” said Ann West, Brendan’s mother. “He can even make a 10-foot shot.”
Through competing at Special Olympics events, he has made friends from all over the state and has earned the nickname “Beebo.” Today, “Beebo” is quite the celebrity. After learning how to use only his feet to play sports, he started to master basketball skills.
He’s so good that he has been invited to two basketball ProCamps – one led by Hakeem Olajuwon, a former center for the Houston Rockets, and the other by James Hardin, a current shooting guard for the Rockets.
The confidence Brendan has gained through Special Olympics has helped him excel in other areas of life. Brendan works at Deer Park Lumber as part of a program offered through Deer Park High School. He assists the staff with pricing, tearing down boxes and shredding papers. He also greets customers as they are coming in and leaving.