Orlando Magic Basketball Camps Brings One Local Youth Closer to the Magic

By John Denton
June 6, 2013

ORLANDO – In many ways, Kyle Darroch is like a typical Central Florida teenager in that he loves the Magic, enjoys attending Magic basketball camps and playfully uses his DVR to watch the Magic Dancers in slow motion.

The major difference, however, is that Kyle has cerebral palsy and is predominantly confined to a wheelchair, one that naturally he had painted blue and black and adorned with Magic stickers and logos.

Kyle is such the Magic fan that even though he can’t play basketball he still attends many of the Orlando Magic Basketball Camps to cheer on the other teenagers playing basketball. The 13-year-old from Longwood attended several Magic games last season and is a regular TV viewer when Orlando is playing at home or away.

“It’s really fun to go to the games,” said Kyle, an A and B student who is headed into the seventh grade at Rock Lake Middle School.

With Kyle and other Central Florida children out of school for the summer, it’s officially summer camp time and the Magic are hosting nearly 20 sessions of youth basketball programs for ages 7-16.

The camps are presented by UnitedHealthcare. The Magic and UHC have partnered to provide 100 kids with full scholarships for kids to attend camps. For more information and to apply for a scholarship, visit OrlandoMagic.com/campscholarships. Scholarships will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis pending availability of preferred camp and proof of need-based eligibility.

“Encouraging young people to adopt good habits of diet and exercise will help them live longer, healthier lives,” said David Lewis, president and CEO, UnitedHealthcare employer and individual of Florida. “UnitedHealthcare is committed to helping children understand the role that exercise and nutrition play in their overall, long-term wellness, and we look forward to working with the Orlando Magic to bring these basketball programs to Florida youths.’’

Each camp session offers instruction provided by the National Basketball Academy and other top area coaches, personalized attention with a coach (no greater than a 1:10 coach-to-camper ratio), drills, skill development, live games, complimentary Gatorade and an individual player evaluation. All participants will receive an official camp T-shirt, full-size Magic basketball, commemorative certificate of achievement and a ticket to a 2013-14 Orlando Magic home game in the Amway Center. In addition, all campers will have the opportunity to participate in trivia, contests and games and each camp will feature an end-of-camp awards ceremony. Guest appearances are subject to availability.

Orlando Magic Basketball Camps is presented by UnitedHealthcare and is officially sponsored by Gatorade and NBA City. To register for the Magic Basketball Camps, or for more information, call 216-378-0932 or go to OrlandoMagicCamps.com.

Kyle Darroch is usually a regular at the camps, decked out in Magic blue and cheering on his friends at they compete in scrimmage games. Kyle is somewhat of a miracle in the eyes of those who know him best because of the challenges he’s had to overcome. He was born prematurely and was just 1 ½ pounds at birth. In addition to his cerebral palsy, he also suffers from asthma, seizure disorders and sensory issues. But he doesn’t allow those issues to dampen his humorous and gregarious nature.

Kyle was walking with canes as recently as a year ago, but following a growth spurt his bones grew, but the muscles didn’t because of the cerebral palsy. Two years ago he underwent hip surgery that left him in a body cast for eight weeks, and next week he’ll undergo a procedure to extend his hamstrings to fit his growing body. But none of those issues dampen his bubbly personality, said his mother, Susanne Darroch.

“He’s the funniest kid and he thinks he’s the luckiest kid on this planet. It’s amazing,” Darroch said. “He’s loud and funny and crazy. He likes watching, ‘Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader,’ and learning shows like, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire.’ He’s a crazy kid.’’

He’s also quite crazy about the Magic, rarely missing a game on television or in person. Kyle was well aware of the Magic’s rebuilding efforts this past season, pointing out, “unfortunately we only won 20 games last season, but luckily that will help us get good draft picks.”

His electric wheelchair features a black seat and several parts are painted Magic blue and silver. And there are Magic logos all over the body of the wheelchair for all to see. Basketball is easily his favorite sport, and just watching the action – whether its actual NBA games or fellow teens at Magic basketball camps – brings him tremendous joy.

“He just loves to come and watch the kids play. He can’t play, but he claps for them and really enjoys it,” Susanne Darroch said. “He loves basketball. He loves all sports, but he loves basketball and the Magic the most. Of course, now he’s getting into the Magic cheerleaders. That’s a big thing for him right now and he says he’s met 18 of the 20 (Magic Dancers). He begs me all of the time to go to the games and he just loves watching the Magic.”

Note: The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic. All opinions expressed by John Denton are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Orlando Magic or their Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Magic and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.




Follow John Denton on Twitter here