Iowa Father Finds Unique Way to Help His Son Play Baseball
Most of my early childhood memories revolve around sports. I'd play catch with my dad or older brother, we'd go to t-ball practice just to end up staying late to keep playing, and we'd practice hitting at the batting cages, what felt like every weekend.
Unfortunately not every kid gets to have memories like that, for various reasons. This Iowa father wanted to give his son the same chance to play catch that millions of other kids have.
Dustin Rhoades has a son named Kayden Schmidt that was born with a disorder that limits the motion of his body according to KCRG. Dustin found this incredibly clever way to allow Kayden to still participate in the game of baseball.
The WHAC is a mechanical arm created by Dustin, that allows Kayden to throw a ball by pushing a button, using the side of his head. Think of it kind of like a catapult. For Kayden to throw the ball, he tilts his head to his left, pushes the button which releases the arm, and wallah, Kayden gets to play catch.
One of the biggest reasons for Dustin to create the WHAC was to try and help give his son a little more independence on the baseball field according to KCRG. Kayden got to play catch with the Miracle League athletes, and the executive director of the league, Kevin Negaard, at his recent fundraiser called "Wanna Have a Catch?"
Wanna Have a Catch has been a year-long campaign where Negaard plans on playing catch for 365 days and to raise money for the Miracle League of Sioux City. Wanna Have a Catch is where Dustin got the name for the WHAC mechanical arm. Pretty fitting name if you ask me.
This isn't the first time Rhoades has created something to help his son participate in the game of baseball. He's also recently invented the Switch Hitter. This helps children like Kayden, step up to the plate and into the batter box, and allows them to hit a ball.
Last January, when Negaard saw how much Rhoads loved being able to help his son and others like him, he told him he plans on playing catch with Kayden, at his fundraiser. He told KCRG
“When I decided to do this in January, I told Dustin, ‘you’ve got one year to figure this out because I am going to play catch with your son.”
One of the biggest motivating factors for Dustin is he just wants to try and get his son a little more independence. He told KCRG
“It’s the biggest thing, because, when you have a child like Kayden, it’s very limited on what he can do. So, just that one extra step of that independence that he gets is just unimaginable.”
Dustin does plan on selling the WHAC in time for next year's baseball season. Someone pass the tissues.