Cheney students ‘chuck it’ for a cause
District physical education teachers organized Cheney Middle School’s second annual “Chuck It” Dodgeball Tournament – which took place on Tuesday – and saw 27 teams join the fun for a good cause.
Last year’s event raised money for Sheyenne High School student Charley Weber, who had suffered a traumatic brain injury on New Year’s Eve, 2012. The Dakota Medical Foundation’s Lend A Hand program also added $5,000 in matching funds.
This year, all of the proceeds went to Lend A Hand, and Weber was able to participate.
“From my standpoint, it has been a blast,” said Jeff Weber, Cheney physical education teacher and Charley’s father. “Last year at this time, Charley was still in therapy, where now he is doing so gosh darn well. I just like working with this team of Phy. Ed. people. I think we could move mountains if we needed to.”
Charley, now a sophomore, was the passenger on a snowmobile that hit a culvert traveling at roughly 45 mph. He was thrown from the vehicle, traveling 25 yards through the air. He hit the ground, his helmet came off, and he was sent back into the air, sustaining an injury to the left side of his brain when he finally landed.
He remembers very little of the next 10 days, was in a medically induced coma for four days and hospitalized for five months.
When local teachers asked the Weber family what they could do, they told them to have the kids play dodgeball in honor of Charley, who was always fond of the sport.
“Dodgeball is a team sport,” Charley said. “It teaches people to play together. You win as a team, lose as a team and act as a team. I’m a team guy, and I like being a part of something.”
From that request, the teachers set up a tournament as a fundraiser for Charley, who was unable to walk or speak at the time.
Charley admits that his recovery has been “bumpy,” but he has finished his rehabilitation and has been medically cleared to play basketball for the Mustangs. While he hopes to play has many sports as he can, he is happy to stick with basketball for the time being.
He told his parents that he wanted to play in the dodgeball tournament this time. They agreed, provided he wore his hockey helmet that he has they bought him for his physical education classes.
“The money and funds that I received from this last year helped me pay for some of my hospital bills and therapy bills,” Charley said. “I want to give back what the community gave me. I want to help someone going through the same experiences I went through, and maybe help them play in something like this next year.”
His drive paid off. One year ago, he was only allowed to spectate. This year, his team, Chuck and Pain, won the tournament.
“It’s a miracle. It really is,” Jeff said. “We are being watched over, and feeling very blessed. Going from where he was to where he is now is crazy. I’m so proud of the whole team here for what they have done.”