DEFIANCE, OH (WTOL) - Michael Maag has found a home on the basketball court. But at just 22 months old, his parents were not sure they would ever get to see him dribble a ball or make a basket. As a baby, Michael was abused by his babysitter.
His life would change forever.
"He suffered a traumatic brain injury," Michael's mom Angie Kirkham said. "That resulted in his brain stroking out and mental and physical disabilities since then."
"It makes for long days," Michael's dad Alan Maag said. "It's difficult to watch your child suffer and go through the things he's had to go through."
The effects still linger today. Michael is only able to use his left arm while playing basketball. But nothing can keep him off the court.
That is where this story takes a happy turn.
It was a normal, cold, snow-filled night in Defiance when Michael dressed for his first ever Varsity basketball game for Ayersville. But he did not just dress for the game. Michael became the talk of town.
"I could kind of tell that it was going to happen," Alan explained. "When he got out there, it was just really neat how the kids responded to him being out there and how the crowd stood up, and it was just a really special night."
"They showed me how to do it first," Michael said. "I knew we were gonna win."
In the short time he was in the game, Michael made a huge impact on this community. After the game, coach presented him with the game ball.