September 27, 2016 | Updated: January 29, 2019

By Heather Crabill

Special Olympics Texas (SOTX) has officially announced its statewide Athletes and Coach of the Year for 2016. Among the five recipients, Brendan West (Deer Park), has been named the Male Athlete of the Year for the 15-21 age range. 

West, a Houston-area SOTX athlete, will be formally recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, Oct. 14 in Bryan/College Station during the 2016 SOTX Fall Classic competition. He will be participating in Bocce at the 16th annual statewide event. 

Kyle Eddlemon (Missouri City) was named the Male Athlete of the Year for the 22+ age range, while Kylie Tyson (Canyon) was tabbed Female Athlete of the Year for the 15-21 age group. and Julia Kilgore (Wichita Falls) received the honor for the 22+ age group. Clara Edwards (Monahans) was named Coach of the Year. 

“Brendan gives 110 percent in every practice and every competition,” said Jo Kiefer, a SOTX unified partner. “What he has accomplished through the years in Special Olympics is amazing and he continues to amaze us.” 

West became involved with SOTX in 2006 through his middle school where he participated on the Deer Park ISD team. Since then “Bebo,” how West is known to friends and family, has continued to play bocce, basketball, bowling and soccer. This remarkable list of sports is even more impressive due to the fact that West is in a wheelchair and has no arms. He was born with a rare syndrome that causes limbs not to form or develop and intellectual disabilities. 

“Bebo has never let his physical limitations hold him back,” says Jeff Greene, head coach of Deer Park ISD Special Olympics. “Although he uses a motorized wheelchair and does not have arms, he fully participates in everything we do as a delegation. He comes to practice with a smile on his face and determination in his heart.” 

This year he was in attendance at the NCAA Pro Basketball Skills Camp led by Hakeem Olajuwon, a former center for the Houston Rockets. His basketball skills were so impressive that he was invited to the James Harden Pro Camp to show off his basketball abilities. He dribbles and shoots with his feet and impresses everyone who sees him play.