The second annual Isaiah Wiggin Memorial Basketball Tournament will be held all day on Saturday, July 1 at the Fair Acres Family Y. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m. and games start at 11 a.m. Cost is $20 per player to play.

Coping with the tragic loss of a young child is probably the hardest thing a parent will ever face, especially when the parent saw the child die in an awful accident.
The Wiggin family knew the anniversary of the death of Chelsea and Ethan's first-born son, Isaiah, every July 1, would be tough, so they're coping by working, and playing, to help others.
The second annual Isaiah Wiggin Memorial Basketball Tournament will be held all day on Saturday, July 1 at the Fair Acres Family Y. Registration starts at 10:30 a.m. and games start at 11 a.m. Cost is $20 per player to play.
Kim Mootrey, Chelsea Wiggin's mother and Isaiah's grandmother, said the tournament has two main goals — helping Chelsea and Ethan get through a day when horrible memories dominate and raising money to help other children enjoy basketball, a game Isaiah loved, and the other services at the Fair Acres Y.
This year, the family hopes to do more than just play basketball. They were so heartened by the response to the first tournament in 2016 that they're expanding the event this year.
“We raised over $3,500 and we had it Friday evening from about 5:30 on,” Mootrey said. “We figured it would be about three or four hour event, but we were there late. We had to stop it at about 10:30 or 11 p.m. We just had so many players that showed up.”

Coping with tragedy
Isaiah was killed on July 1, 2014, just two days before his second birthday, in a tragic accident in the family's Carthage home.
Chelsea Wiggin said she was in the same room with Isaiah and his then-newborn brother, Hudson, when the accident happened.
She said Isaiah was reaching for something on a dresser and had pulled out one of the drawers to stand on it.
Before Chelsea could react, the dresser and a large television sitting on the dresser, had tipped and fallen on Isaiah.
“Most people I've talked to just assume that it was a tall chest of drawers, but it wasn't,” Mootrey said. “It was one of those long dressers, like you have in your bedroom. It was a heavy duty piece of furniture, and how a little 25-pound boy could pull that over . . . He stepped in the bottom drawer and it tilted the whole thing over. The officers couldn't even imagine that happening.”
Chelsea threw the big television to the side and lifted the dresser off her son, and the couple rushed him to the hospital, but he was declared dead at the hospital.
Because of the circumstances of the accident, the police had to investigate and actually took Ethan and Chelsea into custody for a few hours.
Eventually, the police determined Isaiah's death was a tragic accident that no one could have foreseen or prevented.
The incident, the subsequent investigation and everything surrounding it has made July 1 a day of bad memories and second guessing for Chelsea Wiggin, her husband and the whole family.
“That was a day we knew we would dread horribly, so we thought if we could create something that, while it doesn't lessen the hurt, makes it way easier to cope with it on that day,” Mootrey said. “Especially mom and dad, they were right there when it happened, so they relive every single minute. You're looking at the clock and at this time, this happened, at this time, this happened.”

Reaching out
Chelsea Wiggin said she's been coping with the loss of her son through a support group called Kiss Me Goodnight, which meets monthly in Joplin.
“It's moms, we have women who have late-in-time miscarriages, all the way to moms who lost toddlers,” Chelsea Wiggin said. “We all just come together, it's not really like a counseling thing or anything like that, we just sit around and talk. They're the only people in the world you can say 'I'm going to sound crazy, but this is what I'm going through.' These are the people who understand you when no one else in the world can fathom what you're going through.”
Wiggin said she would like to reach out to other local and area families that have lost children in tragedies.
And there have been a number of those cases recently in Jasper County.
• A few weeks after Isaiah died, a two-year-old girl was killed when the father's girlfriend allegedly slammed her head against something hard when she wouldn't stop crying. That case is still making its way through the court system.
• In January 2016, two children were killed when their father shot them and then killed himself in a murder-suicide.
• Then two more young children were killed six weeks apart in 2016, one in rural Jasper County in April and one in Carthage in May, in what the Jasper County Coroner called positional asphyxiation cases.
This happens when an infant gets into a position where his or her nose and mouth are blocked so they can't breathe, but they're too young to save themselves.
• In January 2017, a 10-year-old Carthage girl was killed in what police said was an accidental shooting in her home.
Chelsea Wiggin and her mother said families who want their little one recognized at the event can contact them by phone.

All about basketball
So why a basketball tournament?
Chelsea Wiggin said Isaiah was a basketball nut from the time he could walk.
His dad played basketball for the Carthage Tiger all through high school until his graduation in 2011, then played basketball every week at the Fair Acres Y.
“The first time Isaiah made a basket at a year old, it was a little mini-goal, I thought his dad was going to jump through the ceiling,” Chelsea Wiggin said. “He had tears in his eyes. Isaiah started walking at nine months old and by a year old he was shooting baskets and guarding like they do on the court, like he was in a game. On Sunday, in Carthage, the men's league basketball tournament, it got so bad that the players on all the teams had to get used to him being on the court because he'd run and guard for either team. He was just part of it.”
Kim Mootrey said she got her grandson a mini basketball, one that was a size he could handle more easily, but Isaiah would have none of it.
“He always wanted the big one,” Mootrey said. “He would stand under that goal and he'd look at it, you could just see it in his eyes, I know I can make that. It's 10 feet tall and he wasn't 2 years old yet, but he'd throw the ball.”
Chelsea said Isaiah's brother, Hudson, who is 2 now, a little older than Isaiah when he died, is following in his brother's footsteps.
Hudson was afraid of storms, like his brother, but the family told him thunder was his brother making baskets at a goal in heaven.
“He'll say 'Bubba made it! Bubba made it!'” Chelsea Wiggin said. “One day he ran to the front door in a storm and he said 'Bubba shooting, Bubba shooting!' He still connects to Isaiah through basketball.”