MOORE — On Haley Baskeyfield’s first visit to an Oklahoma City Thunder game, the 9-year-old from Noble exchanged high five’s with Kevin Durant.
It took place before the March 24 game when the Thunder took on the Denver Nuggets. Baskeyfield was in the Thunder’s high-five line with several other children as Durant and the rest of the team ran through.
Even though Baskeyfield is blind, she knew who Durant was right away.
“The (game) was not so good except the high-five tunnel,” Baskeyfield said with a growing smile. “It was good because we mostly high-fived the players. I’m going to tell you something really good. I high-fived Kevin Durant. It was great. He has a huge hand.”
The fact that Baskeyfield is around to hand out high fives to super star athletes is against all odds. According to her grandparents, Eddie and Tammy Baskeyfield, she was not supposed to make it to her first birthday.
“When she was born, they told her she wasn’t going to make it through the night,” Eddie said. “She’s been fighting a battle for 10 years. Well, not for 10 years because after the first three years, she beat the battle.”
Baskeyfield’s battle has been far from easy. She has two separate conditions: one that causes blindness and another that causes malformations in her skeletal system. They include a 90-degree turn in her spine, partial vertebrae missing in her spine and ribs missing on one side; an entire portion of her chest cavity has no skeletal protection.
Part of her chest plate is missing. The rest of the ribs are fused and twisted to the right side. On the left side, they are flat and they point downward.
“After she made it through the first night, they said she wouldn’t make it through young infancy,” Tammy said. “When she made it through young infancy, they said she wouldn’t make it past 3 years old, that she would never walk, that she would never sit up due to the curvature in her spine.