By Rick Hinton
“Liam’s had a very long day today,” Cindy Price said about her son. “He did a speech at Yorktown High School, came back, changed his clothes and went to school for a chemistry test. Then there was basketball practice.” Such is a normal routine for Center Grove High School Senior Liam Price, as he wholeheartedly embraces his last year of high school with a gusto that far outweighs his challenges.
“I have some cognitive challenges,” he stated. “I have OCD that sometimes slows me down. I feel like this year has been the hardest, but I’m getting through it positively.”
“Liam has an intellectual disability – he’s on the autism spectrum,” Cindy added. “He also has Tourette’s syndrome and sometimes he has the OCD, which is part of the spectrum, but he has a way of getting around those.” There are those days of anxiety, however he stands firm to what has become an engraved motto – “To not let my disability define me!”
One of Liam’s favorite classes is weightlifting, where he spends time as a teacher’s aide. He’s a manager for the CG varsity basketball team, helping in keeping the clock, passing in drills and participating in stretching. One of his fondest memories is shooting half-court shots in front of the team. And then there’s IHSAA Unified Sports.
The focus of IHSAA Unified Sports is competition-based, working as a team with a commitment to give their all. The program provides opportunities to participate in a variety of sport activities. CG Athletic Director Jon Zwitt stated, “Some schools, like Center Grove, also have Unified Basketball (not presently a sanctioned sport, but right around the corner), which Liam participates in. He is one of the vocal leaders in the state for Unified Sports, the IHSAA Champions Together Program and Special Olympics.” Price was almost immediately invited to join the new Unified Track and Field team. In Special Olympics he participates in swimming – in the summer games awarded the No. 1 seed time – and the ALPS (Athletic Leadership Program). Motivational speaking – Global Messaging – and summits, where he shares his story, not only within Indiana, but also out of state, rounds out the mix and keeps Price one busy young man.
“Liam spoke at our annual basketball Christmas party,” Center Grove basketball coach Zach Hahn said. “He made them laugh. He made them cry. He showed them how important being a manager of the team has been for him,” Hahn recalled. “He has an uncanny ability to raise the energy level in a room. He’s a selfless leader that always puts others before himself. He is one of the most mature, well-rounded and caring people I have ever met.”
THE PRICE FILE
NAME: Liam Price
SPORT: Track and swimming
POSITION: Track – shot put & 100-meter dash; swimming – backstroke
HEIGHT: 6 feet
AGE: 17 (turning 18 by the end of February)
HOBBIES/INTERESTS: Classic video gaming; music – drums & congos
FAVORITE MOVIE: Watching old family videos
FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Simpsons
COLLEGE PLANS: The University of Indianapolis, where he will study math and criminal justice. He plans to participate in swimming.
PARENTS: Jon and Cindy Price