OSKALOOSA—A local student who played basketball on his high school basketball team this season is proving that the game is about much more than making baskets — although he does that, too.
Brody Allman, 15, is a freshman at Oskaloosa High School and recently helped his basketball team finish their season with a record of 7-12. The team, coached by Bryan Kime, finished their season with a 57-50 win at Grinnell.
Brody was born in Austin, Texas and his family moved to Oskaloosa three years later.
Ever since he was diagnosed at two weeks old with Down’s Syndrome, Brody’s parents, Dan and Andrea Allman, have been right by his side to help him with his speech, fine motor skills and developmental delays.
His parents both met in this area and both graduated from Pekin-Packwood High School.
They’ve spent the last 15 years supporting Brody through a lot of personal challenges, doctor’s visits and medical treatments including heart surgery at age 1.
“We had a small, but very helpful, support network early on to help us handle a lot of the challenges and answer a lot of our questions,” said Allman’s father.
Brody has a younger sister, Rian, age 11, who also is one of his biggest fans.
From a very young age, Brody had a keen interest in playing basketball.
“We’ve always spent a lot of time playing basketball with Brody at our house in the driveway,” said his father, Dan Allman. “He’s also played in the Upward Basketball league for several years.”
Tucker DeJong, who also played on the freshman basketball team, is one of Brody’s friends. They both have been playing basketball together ever since elementary school where they played all the time at recess.
“Everyone really enjoys having Brody on the team, and so they try to keep him really involved during practice and games,” said DeJong. “They even have a play called ‘Squeeze Brody’, which was created just to get the ball to him.”
DeJong said that he hopes Brody plays all four years of high school because there is no one on the bench who is more supportive.
“He is always the first to congratulate someone when you make a great shot or when you play awesome defense,” said DeJong. “Brody makes the game more enjoyable and when he comes out on the court and everyone allows him to make a shot, everyone wins, including Brody, the entire gym is unified.”
Coach Bryan Kime and varsity head coach Ryan Parker both know how much Brody loves to play basketball. They offer him every opportunity to participate if he wants to come out for basketball. Coach Kime even works with Brody in the life skills classroom at the school.
“I’m glad Coach Kime teaches the players that the game is more than just basketball. It’s about life lessons. He teaches the kids to do the right thing,” said Dan Allman.
Brody has also been involved in other levels of sports competition. He has competed in the Special Olympics, including track and field, bowling, the First Tee golf tournament and basketball events. He recently won a couple awards at Iowa’s Winter Special Olympics competition. He was able to travel with coaches Sarah DeRonde and Betty Ann Latchaw, who took a group of high school athletes to the event.
Tammy Sparks, a Special Olympics delegation manager, has coached Allman in many of these Special Olympics events.
“He is so much fun to watch compete, and he gets so much enjoyment out of the sports he does,” said Sparks. “During one game at districts in Des Moines, one of his teammates passed Brody the ball, he shot it and it went in, scoring the winning shot, which earned the team a trip to state in Iowa City. I’ll cherish that special memory forever. Sometimes he gets a little care-free in the track events and he hops, smiles and laughs, but he’s always having the time of his life heading to the finish line!”
When he’s not playing basketball, you’ll usually find Brody watching movies, playing electronic games and throwing a frisbee around, which are his other favorite things to do.
Brody’s parents said they are both humbled by the goodwill others show Brody. They both feel that it’s not as much about Brody’s journey to get where he is today, but more about how he inspires others to show compassion and kindness to others and live the most of each day we are given. And that reaches far beyond the boundaries of a basketball court.
Kindness isn’t always obvious until it is, and when it’s all the people cheering a player like Brody on, it’s probably one of the greatest things in sports.
That same sentiment was also echoed by DeJong.
“Brody teaches everyone; our team, the opposing team, all the coaches, the referees, and the spectators, a very valuable lesson that should be remembered on and off the court, that life is meant to be enjoyed.”
( Watch Brody score a basket: photos.oskaloosa.com/Brody-Allman-Freshman-Basketball-2020/ )
Herald sports writer Richard Rindt can be reached at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @ osky_sports