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Delphi junior receives statewide honor for courage in sports

Angela Bieghler

Angela Bieghler

Jordan Ladd, staff writer

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Every year, the Indiana High School Golf Coaches Association awards the Mitchel J. Winger Courage Award to one student. Bob Brothers, Chairman of the association, wrote that the award is presented to a golfer “who has faced mental and/or physical handicaps while playing high school golf.” This year, the association had the honor of presenting the award to Delphi’s own Abigail Bieghler.

Abi has hereditary spastic paraparesis (HSP), and this affects her walk. Her doctors think that the signal from her brain telling her feet to lift up is somehow getting lost, and so instead, she walks on her toes.

However, this doesn’t stop her from playing sports. Abi plays not only golf, but she swims as well. Abi said, “I play sports because I love to be active and if I don’t, I might lose the ability to walk.” So not only is this a personal choice for Abi, but it’s also a health issue. Mrs. Angela Bieghler, Abi’s mom, said, “Doctors told us when it came to her leg muscles, ‘if she didn’t use them, she would lose them.’ We put her in as many activities as possible and she has basically played each sport to the best of her ability for as long as she could.”

Photo taken by Keaton Barr

Coach Dave Gilbert was the one who recommended Abi for the award. “When we were playing at sectional, a couple of other coaches commented to me on how impressed they were with Abi. They also asked me if I had ever heard of the Mitchell Winger Courage Award and told me how to go about the nomination process.”

The association later contacted Abi and Coach Gilbert with the news that she had been chosen as this year’s recipient. On Oct. 6, Abi and Coach Gilbert, along with her family, attended an awards banquet at the Golf Club of Indiana, in Zionsville, IN, where she received her award. Coach Gilbert spoke at the banquet, saying, “I know it’s painful for her to walk and sometimes she’s on the verge of tears, but she always gives her all on the course.”

Abi’s courage is something her fellow peers should look up to. DCHS Athletic Director Mr. Kevin Sims said, “She never complains about her physical issues no matter how severe. Other athletes complain about minor injuries or a headache while Abi marches onward. I am very proud of her and so happy she received this award.”

Mrs. Bieghler, who is rightfully proud of her daughter, has her own definition of courage: “Courage is going out there, knowing that people are going to stare and laugh and point and wonder why she walks ‘funny.’ It is falling down and getting back up again, and again, and again.” Abi is an inspiration to all. The fact that she pushes through her disability to play different sports is truly amazing. Abi is the epitome of a true leader.

What does Abi have to say about all of this? “I just want to show people that anything is possible if you believe and you are willing to work for it.”  

About the Writer
Jordan Ladd, editor

Jordan is a junior at Delphi, and this is his second year writing for Parnassus. He is involved in Interact, SADD, is a HOBY alumni, and swims on the swim...

1 Comment

One Response to “Delphi junior receives statewide honor for courage in sports”

  1. Bella on October 13th, 2017 5:02 pm

    I love this article and I am so happy for Abi! I’m so glad that her disability isn’t keeping her down, and that, through her, people realize that something that is so easy for us isn’t necessarily easy for everyone. This is a great article, Jordan! Congrats, Abi!

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