About 2,500 people were in Springfield Oct. 22-24 for the the National Christian Homeschool Volleyball Championships featuring more than 70 teams from 13 states competing at a variety of venues and culminating in a championship event Oct. 24 at Hammons Student Center.

One of those players was 17-year-old Avery Miller, a member of the Fort Worth, Texas, team PT Warriors. Avery Miller, diagnosed with Type I diabetes at age 10, plays volleyball year round.

“It wasn’t easy when I was first diagnosed because I had to do actual shots with needles and stuff,” Avery Miller said.

Now she has an insulin pump that helps keep her sugar levels where they should be preventing spells of dizziness and shakiness or crankiness, depending on if her levels are high or low.

Her dad, John Miller, said it used to be bad enough, she was unconscious a few times the day following a tournament because physical activity affects her blood sugar levels.

“The last couple times at nationals, we haven’t been able to wake her up in the morning,” John Miller said, explaining shots were required to wake her.

Even so, Avery Miller doesn’t let the disease slow her down and she’s a dedicated player in the event that is part of  the National Christian Homeschool Championships.

“Having family support and team support and, obviously, God working with us, everything just turned out really well,” Avery Miller said.

The championships provide national and regional events for homeschool athletes across the United States. The organization strives to create quality events in basketball, volleyball, soccer, cross-country, golf and track and field, while increasing visibility for future athletic endeavors.

“Springfield continues to be a great destination for the NCHVC,” said Lance Kettering, executive director of the Springfield Sports Commission. “This event showcases the collaborative efforts with private and public athletics facilities in Springfield. Having multiple floors under one roof makes for efficient tournament operations.  We are so appreciative of the venues that assist in making the event a reality - The Courts, The Field House, Missouri State University, Evangel University and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.”

The Volleyball Championships are one of several NCHC tournaments that come to Springfield for events. Other sports include basketball, soccer, cross country and golf. Combined, the events bring an estimated 12,000 or more people to the city annually.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NCHVC or http://nchclive.com.

For information about other sporting events brought to Springfield by the Springfield Sports Commission and Convention & Visitors Bureau, call 417-881-5300 or visit www.SpringfieldMOSports.org. The Sports Commission and CVB are nonprofit organizations dedicated to boosting the local economy through growth in travel and tourism.