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MOUNT VERNON — A community of athletes came together Saturday and Sunday in the Mount Vernon Summer Slam Pickleball Tournament sponsored by the Mount Vernon Kiwanis.
Early in the first round of men’s doubles, play was suspended after a player collapsed. For several stressful moments the community came together outside of their love of the game, providing CPR and comfort to the collapsed player and his family until paramedics arrived on scene. The player was taken by ambulance to Knox County Community Hospital and play resumed after a brief prayer.
The tournament aimed to raise money for an inclusive playground at Memorial Park which will allow all children with “typical function” and with disabilities to play together. Kathy White, the president-elect of Kiwanis and a Pickleball player, said that she got the idea for the tournament from another player who had played in a similar tournament put on by a Kiwanis club in Independence. Around that time, Steve Oster, representing the Knox County Board of Developmental Disabilities, spoke to Kiwanis about an initiative to build a more inclusive park for children of all capabilities.
“That’s what we do at Kiwanis, we work with kids, so I thought it would be a perfect project for us to do,” White explained.