Junior Michaela Rasmussen recently attended the NCAA Women’s Final Four in Dallas as part of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Allstate Good Works Team.
The Good Works Team honors women’s basketball players who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others through giving back to their communities.A native of Chaska, Minn., Rasmussen was one of five Division I women’s basketball players named to the prestigious squad, along with five student-athletes from NCAA Divisions II and III, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
The first Rocket to be chosen to the Good Works Team, Rasmussen was recognized on the court during the second national semifinal game March 31 in American Airlines Arena.
The following afternoon, Rasmussen and the Good Works Team put on a basketball clinic and interacted with patients at the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.
To wrap up the weekend, Rasmussen and the Good Works Team took part in a series of interviews and panels April 2.
In the classroom, Rasmussen has posted a 4.0 GPA in biology with a minor in chemistry and Spanish and has aspirations to become a doctor.
On the court, she has started 22 of 82 games over the past three seasons wearing the Midnight Blue and Gold. She is averaging 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per contest for the Rockets.
Even with those impressive statistics in the classroom and on the court, it is in the community where Rasmussen shines the most. She volunteers regularly for the Sunshine Therapeutic Riding Program, which offers therapeutic horseback riding for individuals of all ages with developmental disabilities.
Rasmussen’s passion for helping those with special needs and disabilities hits close to home. Her older brother, Nathan, has an underdeveloped corpus callosum and was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at an early age. He suffers from poor muscle function and can say very few words. Rasmussen began accompanying him to his therapeutic horseback riding sessions four years ago and saw the joy riding horses brought him. She continued to go with Nathan to his sessions.
Two years later, she decided to organize a Special Olympics Unified Basketball Tournament at her high school, Holy Family Catholic. Her goal was to provide another tournament for the teams in the conference, and enlisted the help of her high school teammates. After the tournament, her teammates said they were inspired and that the way the teams competed and cheered each other on at the same time was extremely impactful.
Since arriving in Toledo, Rasmussen has been active in the community volunteering for many organizations. Not only does she participate in UT’s team-organized community service events. She also has volunteered for Toledo Sister Cities International Festival as a Spanish translator, companion walker for the Sunshine Walk, 5k Run & Roll, and handed out water at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in downtown Toledo.
She also has coached basketball for middle school children at the Padua Center and Our Lady of Perpetual Health Camp, as well as volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, ALS Walk, Make-a-Wish and the Glass City Marathon.