July 26, 2013 | North America: North Carolina

A Family That Plays Together...

By Kate McKenna

In addition to his talent in sports, Todd has found a calling as a Global Messenger for Special Olympics. He’s attended Capitol Hill Day twice, talking with members of Congress and legislative staff about supporting people with intellectual disabilities

To see Todd dribbling fast down the soccer field or stealing 22 basketballs a game, it’s hard to imagine how fragile he used to be. "He was one-pound, seven ounces at birth - and they didn't give him much of a chance," recalls Todd's dad, Steve. When Steve and his wife, Gail, first glimpsed Todd, he was hooked up to an oxygen machine, a heart monitor and a feeding tube. He was so delicate to the touch, says Steve, "It was like picking up your phone receiver. He was that little." Despite that early prognosis, Todd has steadily grown into a strong and exceptional athlete. He’s also the scrappy player who gets assigned to guard the tallest players, putting on an impressive show, especially when it comes to stealing the ball from his opponents. Todd is one of 52 foster children taken in by the Bass family over the years. They eventually adopted six children, including four with intellectual and other disabilities. All four have been deeply involved with Special Olympics.

About Kate McKenna: Director, Editorial and Multimedia
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