Basketball player works to 'Bounce Out the Stigma'

Basketball player works to 'Bounce Out the Stigma'

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by MICHELLE BOUDIN / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @MichelleBoudin

WCNC.com

Posted on July 17, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 17 at 6:41 PM

ROCK HILL, S.C. -- He's known for his tricks, entertaining national audiences as part of a basketball team like the Harlem Globetrotters, but Mighty Mike, as he's called, has epilepsy. Now, he wants to prove to kids in our area that shouldn't stop you.

He's paid to be a trickster. Mighty Mike Simmel plays with the Harlem Wizards, a professional entertainment basketball team. But this week is all about a treat.

“This is what I set out to do all my life,” he said.

He was diagnosed at the age of 2 with epilepsy.

“I was debilitated to the point where I wore a helmet. I was in special needs gym class and basketball was my way of overcoming this disability.”

He started the Bounce Out the Stigma camp to help similar kids because he knows firsthand how much it can mean.

“I was 16, and I was at a basketball camp and I had a seizure; they wanted to send me home. Said, ‘You can’t be here.’ My parents were like, ‘This is unbelievable...’ I felt very isolated at the time.”

Brock Sloane is just 14.

“I had a seizure and I had to go to the hospital... Yeah it’s pretty scary,” the teen said.

Here, though, he says he can relax, be himself, and play the sport he loves.

“It makes me feel like there’s nothing wrong with me. I feel at home here.”

Simmel is thrilled.

“When I see them smile it makes my heart just grow.”

Red ventures in Fort Mill hosted the camp.

For more information please visit bounceoutthestigma.org

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