CHASE YOUR DREAMS - #003 - Dustin & Kayden Rhoades and Ability Tech

Nathan Rueckert

Posted on October 20 2022

Photo credit:  Rich Sugg, Kansas City Star


Kayden plays in the Miracle League of Sioux City, Iowa. On game days, like all Miracle League athletes, Kayden was partnered with a buddy. His buddy helped him swing the bat and run the bases and kept him safe on the field. Watching Kayden play in a game in 2017, Dustin, Kayden’s dad, had an idea.

“I just wanted to give Kayden the chance to do something on his own,” Dustin said.

For many Miracle League athletes, finding a way to increase their independence and help them experience the freedom and joy of playing baseball is just a dream. Dustin believed he could make that dream a reality.

It took two years. Two years filled with trial and error. Two years filled with hope and frustration and maybe-if-I-do-this. But, with great perseverance and a little support from YouTube, Dustin invented the Switch Hitter. By pushing a switch with his head, a switch that is powered by a DeWalt battery, Kayden can swing his bat when he wants to swing his bat. Unassisted.

Kayden loved it.  

Photo credit:  Haley Meacham, Miracle League of Sioux City

As did the families of several other Miracle League athletes. In response to their requests for their own Switch Hitters, Dustin created Ability Tech, a company that creates adaptive technology so people with varied needs can live life to the fullest. 

Fast forward to 2022. 

When Kevin Negaard (see Chase Your Dreams #002) started his Wanna Have a Catch? project, he held an Opening Day event - an indoor carnival and sports smorgasbord for all Miracle League athletes. At this event, Kevin approached Dustin with a challenge.

Kevin wanted Kayden to be one of his catch partners.

“He basically told me I had one year to make it happen,” Dustin said. 

So, Dustin went to back to the drawing board.

This time, success came quickly. 

Less than four months later, on only the second iteration of the device, the WHAC (Wanna Have A Catch) was born.

Kayden’s first game of catch was with his mom, Shanna.

“He loved it. He didn’t want to stop. He was continuously hitting his button to throw again and again,” Dustin said.

The WHAC was a success.

Dustin then entered the device in a local entrepreneurial contest sponsored by the University of Iowa’s Venture School. When he won the local contest, he entered it in the statewide contest.

The WHAC won first place, along with a $10,000 check.

“I was blown away,” Dustin said. “There were so many great ideas, the competition was so great. I found myself hoping for third place. I just want to give anyone who wants the opportunity to play baseball.”

Kayden has since played catch with Kevin and thrown out a first pitch for Sioux City Explorers, the Ozark Mountain Ducks, and traveled to Tennessee to use his WHAC and Switch Hitter in the National Miracle League All-Star Game. He even was invited to throw out a first pitch for the Kansas City Royals on September 22. 

Photo credit:  Rich Sugg, Kansas City Star

Kevin Negaard’s year-of-playing-catch challenge inspired another father and son to make a dream come true, granting further independence to Miracle League athletes and helping them make memories of their own through games of catch. 

Now, Dustin and Kayden are serving as catch-playing ambassadors for all people chasing their own baseball dreams.   


If you are interested in learning more, visit or find them on Instagram ( and Facebook here.  


This post was written by Ethan D. Bryan, fellow dream chaser and author of the best-selling book “A Year of Playing Catch: What a Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me About Life.”  Ethan lives in Springfield, Missouri, with his wife, Jamie, and daughters, Kaylea and Sophie. He still dreams of playing baseball for his beloved Kansas City Royals.  His writing can be found at or on Twitter at @Ethan_Bryan.  

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