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Roll Around the Park Playground, White House, Tennessee

Project by Miracle Recreation Equipment Company

The inspiring story of brothers Cayden and Conner Long (pictured) led to the creation of an inclusive and ADA accessible playground in their hometown of White House, Tenn. Cayden, age 8, was born with cerebral palsy that keeps him confined to a wheelchair, but he participates in youth triathlons with the help of his older brother. The pair was named Sports Illustrated's SportsKids of the Year in 2012.

There's a new playground in White House, Tenn., but it's not just any playground. A closer look reveals that there is a place for just about every child, on equipment that includes climbers, runners, spinners, sliders and even rollers.

Best of all, the idea for this playground came from two brothers who were not willing to let their different abilities keep them apart. Conner Long, age 11, has been participating in triathlons since 2011. His brother Cayden is eight, and was born with hypertonic cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or talk. Despite the cerebral palsy that requires him to get around in a wheelchair, Cayden is also a triathlete. That's because, like so many best friends, they do everything together.

More than 200 volunteers assisted with the installation of the 4,700 square foot playground in March 2014. Despite heavy winds and rain at times during the installation, the new equipment only took about a month to install. The park opened April 12, 2014, when the Long brothers were featured in a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Several years ago, at Conner's insistence, he and Cayden started participating in triathlons. Conner swims while pulling Cayden in a raft, bikes with his little brother towed behind him in a trailer, and pushes the same trailer when they run.

Their inspiring tale led to a 2012 Sports Illustrated cover story, in which the Long brothers were named the 2012 SportsKids of the Year. Basketball superstar LeBron James, honored as the 2012 Sportsman of the Year, was moved by the brothers' story at an awards ceremony, calling the pair "the real Sportsmen of the Year." James even flew the Long family to Miami in April 2013 to be special guests at a Miami Heat game in 2013, where they met the basketball team and sat courtside.

The park's features are all accessible components designed for children from age five to twelve, including the Ten Spin (pictured). The Mega Tower main structure includes ramps that allow Cayden ample space for maneuvering on and around the play area in his wheelchair.

Conner's determination and selfless dedication to his brother also caught the attention of Miracle Recreation Equipment Company (Miracle). Inspired by Conner and Cayden's story, the company decided to build a playground in honor of the brothers in their hometown of White House. Conner was asked to join Miracle's Not so Bored of Directors to help the playground company design a playground for Cayden and other children of all ability levels.

Design & Installation
Miracle enlisted sales representative Tami Phillips, of Miracle of Kent. and Tenn., to design and manufacture the playground equipment. Their Mega Tower play structure, combined with a variety of accessible play elements, provided the perfect design for bringing thrilling play opportunities to children of all abilities.

The accelerator swing (Miracle Recreation), like the rest of the equipment at Roll Around the Park, was selected for accessibility and donated by the manufacturer. Rubber safety surfacing (No Fault Sport Group) was also donated for the project.

With Conner's help, the design and concept for Roll Around the Park began to come together. After four months of planning, the community of White House, Tenn., welcomed the new playground at a grand opening event on April 12, 2014.

"Miracle was honored to partner with the city of White House in their efforts to serve the needs of children of all ages and abilities," said Mike Sutton, global sales director for Miracle. "By donating this Miracle playground, which is designed to offer many opportunities for inclusive play, our goal was to create an outstanding play environment that will be a destination for all families in and around the White House community. Our sincere thanks go to USA Shade and Fabric Structures for donating the shade protected area and Miracle of KY and TN for the design and installation of this outstanding play environment."

Playground elements were handpicked by Conner Long and include a music station that features a xylophone, kids' calypso drum and chime panel. Other ground level elements, such as a crawling tunnel, were included, as were shade structures (USA Shade, Fabric Structures).

Since its debut, Roll Around the Park has been a beloved spot for local children of all abilities to play. Through their accomplishments, Conner and Cayden have not only given children in the area an amazing place to interact with each other, they have inspired children around the country by the true meaning of perseverance and inclusion.

"We used to drive almost an hour to get to a playground that both Connor and Cayden could play on together, but now they don't have to," Jenny Long said.

To learn more about Team Long Brothers, visit

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May 26, 2019, 3:17 pm PDT

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