Kids with special needs become ninja warriors

Posted at 9:56 AM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 11:56:58-04

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    Fenton, MI (WJRT) — There’s a place giving children with special needs a chance to be a ninja warrior.

Tri-County Ninja partnered with Overcoming Obstacles: Adaptive Ninja & Climbing to offer classes that provide new opportunities.

Lauren Subjeck is 12 and has a rare genetic brain disorder that confines her to a wheelchair most of the time. Recently, that changed because on Wednesday nights she’s here at Tri-County Ninja.

“She gets to mix in with the outside environment, which is something these kids don’t get that often,” Danny Subjeck said.

Tegan Roovol, who is a world-known ninja warrior athlete, started the program to help more kids like Lauren. She loosely based the program off the popular TV show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Roovol’s program is different than the show, in which contestants have to go through several different obstacles. The course these kids go through helps them conquer their impairments.

“In order for them to succeed and have fun with it,” Roovol said.

Jacob Michelson, 13, who has Mitochondrial disease, was all smiles during his time on the course. His mom said this means everything to him.

“It gives Jacob the opportunity to do things that other kids are able to do every day that he has not been able to do until now,” Becky Michelson said.

Roovol has two different levels depending on children’s needs. The second class is geared for children who are capable of handling a more challenging course.

After pressing a button, 12-year-old Curan Holmes started his obstacle course. He has cerebral palsy, so anything physical is a challenge. With the coaches backing him, Holmes finished.

“It makes me feel heroic, more heroic than I have ever been,” Holmes said.

With a time of 3:10, he is now a Ninja Warrior.

Roovol offers the classes during the open gym hours. She hopes the program helps children get out more and is not considered a therapy session.

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