Cerebral palsy won’t stop young athlete’s dream

8-year-old raising money for his basketball club

Cerebral palsy won’t stop young athlete’s dream

Don’t tell Clayton Banks he can’t do anything. Since birth he’s shown everyone he defies doctors' expectations.

“From day one the odds were not in his favor — that is what was relayed to us,” Bonswa Banks, Clayton’s father said.

That’s because Clayton was born at 24 weeks weighing 1 pound, 5.5 ounces. Doctors told Clayton’s parents that their son’s first days in the hospital as a preemie would be critical.

Content Continues Below

“Every day he did better and better and got stronger,” Bonswa said. “There were little setbacks but faith kept us through.”

Clayton spent 95 days in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Despite some challenges relating to his cerebral palsy, this 8-year-old phenomenal kid plays for the Charlotte Rollin' Hornets. The Hornets are part of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association.

The NWBA is one of the oldest and largest disabled sports organizations in the world. What started as a way to serve veterans with disabilities after World War II, the NWBA quickly became a sport for anyone with a physical disability. In 1993, the sport had just a handful of youth teams, but now has 85 across the country.

The Charlotte Rollin' Hornets has a rich history of success, on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.

They’ve won seven different national championships and grown from a single team to as many as six teams. They are the reigning champions of the Carolina Wheelchair Basketball Conference (DIII) and the Southeastern Conference Prep Division.

COVID-19 has put much of their training and games at risk, so the NWBA has created a tool and a campaign for its 225 teams to raise funds for when we are able to safely return to play.

You can support Clayton and his team by donating directly, sharing the campaign, or by setting up your own fundraising page to support your favorite team and athlete.

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at Kevin.Campbell@wsoctv.com.

Clayton Banks and WSOC-TV anchor Erica Bryant in 2017
Clayton Banks and WSOC-TV anchor Erica Bryant in 2017