Losing one leg in a childhood accident did not deter Bill Cadman from a lifetime of participating in athletics.
Now Cadman, 52, and the brand new sports director at the Cross Timbers Family YMCA in Flower Mound, brings his love of coaching and a philosophy of participation by all to local families by overseeing youth and adult sports programs at the Y.
Sports has been his life long passion, according to Cadman, despite the fact that his prosthetic leg led some people to say he wouldn’t be able to participate in athletics.
Cadman, who grew up in Youngtown, Ohio, had his youth sports window closed at the age of five when he was run over by a riding lawn mower, mangling his leg. For 10 years he suffered from having a useless leg and the clumsy metal polio brace that supported it. At the age of 15, he asked if he could have his leg amputated so he could try to play recreational sports using a prosthetic limb.
It was like a light bulb was finally switched on. His life lit up.
“The prosthetic limb let me be much more active,” he recalled. “I could play just about any sport and I really liked basketball. Shooting around in the gym and actually playing in games. It made my life so much easier.
“I just knew that I would probably have to work harder than everyone else, and I definitely understand and know the need for all children to be included in sports. Everyone should be allowed to play.”
He went on to play football, baseball and basketball in high school, and then played those same sports in college intramurals, then after graduation continued participation in team sports as an adult.
“I was always drawn to sports, and I wanted to compete,” Cadman said, adding that part of what helped him succeed was the philosophy that sports are actually 80% mental and 40% physical.
Cadman eventually went into the prosthetics business, fitting patients and helping them with their first steps. He spent five years working at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas and loved helping kids with their new prosthetic limbs. He developed empathy and found his calling. He was a youth sports referee and coached some teams at the Town North YMCA. It was there that Youth Sports Director Andrew Alvaredo hired Cadman as a youth sports coordinator in March of 2004. A year later, the opportunity at the Park Cities YMCA came up and Cadman came on board.
One of his favorite things about his job with the Y is that it allows him to work with kids and have the opportunity to show them that everyone can enjoy sports.
“I use my situation with my leg to shed some light for them on what a person can do despite what other people feel are limitations,” said Cadman.
Tricia Meinhold, executive director of the Cross Timbers Y, said she is thrilled to have Cadman on staff.
“Bill’s program at Park Cities served over 8,000 youth. We are looking forward to his leadership and his wonderful outlook. At Cross Timbers Family YMCA, we serve over 4,500 kids in sports. Bill’s philosophy is “kids first.” He can be found on the fields or in the gyms on Saturdays watching games, talking to parents and volunteers and really enjoying what he does. The Y recently partnered with the Town of Flower Mound to provide youth volleyball and basketball. Under Bill’s leadership, the Cross Timbers Sports program will continue to grow and engage our area kids,” said Meinhold.
Cadman said he is excited about the possibilities of growth involving youth sports in soccer, basketball, flag football, volleyball and other sports.
Besides growth, Cadman said he wants to emphasize the YMCA philosophy that he has made his own – “The Child First and The Sport Second.” He said in part, this means that the safety of the child is paramount as well as ensuring that the child has a good experience in everything they participate in at the Y.
Cadman, his wife of ten years, Mary, and their yellow lab, Mack, just completed a move to the Colleyville area where it will be more convenient for her to fly in and out of DFW Airport, which she does on a weekly basis for her business.
To join the Cross Timbers Family YMCA or to find out more about the many programs offered there for children and adults, call 972-539-9622. The non-profit facility, located at 2021 Cross Timbers Road in Flower Mound, offers scholarships for area residents that want to participate but can’t afford the fees.