Basketball team adopts 14-year-old boy
by Casey Bayliss, USA TODAY Sports
If you’re ever following the Evangel University men’s basketball team, either in practice or a game, one of the Crusaders seems out of place, leaving you to think, “He’s too young to be on a college team.”
But for 14-year-old Christopher Banks, he is right at home with the family.
When he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2008 — it turned out to be benign — doctors told the family that Christopher would not play sports again and he would likely die in his sleep.
“How is a mother supposed to sleep at night after hearing that?” Kimberly Banks said.
And yet here he is, three years since surgery and nudging into the Evangel pre-game huddle, the timeout huddle, jogging to the locker room at halftime and sitting on the bench as the Crusaders blitz through the season.
For three years, it’s been a fun ride since the team adopted him.
However, concerns are beginning to emerge again.
Years ago, Christopher experienced 100 seizures a day. Lately Christopher’s teachers have reported him “spacing out” in class, which could be misconstrued as an absent seizure, his mother said. Other symptoms such as headaches, muscle weakness and personality changes have caused him to miss some school recently.
“The personality changes are what’s hardest for his (16-year-old) sister. But when he can be in a really bad mood or not feeling good, we bring him here (Ashcroft Center) and he leaves happy,” Kimberly said. “It’s something we like to keep normal and they are family.”
Certainly, the Crusaders have provided a setting that helps Christopher escape from the real world and be around the game he absolutely loves.
Christopher doesn’t have one favorite player because, to him, it’s like he has 18 older brothers. However, he does have a past favorite, Jackson Capel, who became Evangel’s all-time leading scorer in 2008. Capel, who scored 2,227 points in his career, now plays pro ball in Germany and visits the Banks family whenever he is in town.
“Jackson came to my birthday party once. Him and Mike (Storey),” Christopher remembered with excitement. “And they helped us when we moved house, too.”
Christopher feels a strong … [For more on Evangel University basketball team adopts 14-year-old boy, click here.]