MECHANICSVILLE (WTVR) – To look at him, you wouldn’t automatically think of Blake Rush as a college athlete on scholarship.
Born with spina bifida, Blake has been in a wheelchair since birth. Doctors didn’t give him much of a chance at a normal life, let alone one filled with athletic achievement.
“The doctor told us to terminate the pregnancy” Blake’s dad Kevin recalled on Tuesday. “I said ‘What if I terminate you?'”
“If he had died at birth, that would have been by God’s hand, not by mine. Now, he’s got a 3.6 GPA, and a college scholarship.”
Blake began playing wheelchair basketball with Richmond's Sportable program 8 years ago. And through those games, he got the chance to attend camps at the University of Alabama and Edinboro College in Pennsylvania. Both offered him partial scholarships to play collegiately and on Tuesday, he signed to play at Edinboro.
"I found out college's had scholarships for wheelchair basketball about four years ago" Blake said. "And I've just been working really hard since then to get one."
Turning down a school like Alabama isn't done every day, but Blake developed a strong bond with the head coach at his new school.
"I've known the [Edinboro] coach for about 5 years now" Blake said. "He was very big in my decision to go there. He will hopefully prepare me to go on to the U.S. National team one day"
Blake has also played for an adult team called the Richmond Rimriders for the past 3 years. But moving on to the college level will hopefully improve his game even more.
"Just being able to work 5 days a week will help me get speed and shoot better and just get more practice time".