A recent letter from a parent! Please take the time to read! This is precisely our goal!
My name is Brandi Patrick and I am the mom of an amazing 8 year old athlete named Chris (CJ). CJ was born with a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia. As a family with a differently-abled kid, we are always overcoming hurdles. Finding new ways to do things to ensure he is self-sufficient and able to adapt as he gets older is a task we face daily.
There are many sports programs in society that cater to kids that have some form of cognitive delay or are unable to play mainstream sports. The challenge has been finding a place that can still provide the competition, team work and skill development that is needed to participate at a higher level. CJ has no cognitive delay, but his muscles are tight in his legs, making it more challenging to balance and move as quickly as a typical baseball player.
After starting our baseball lives last year, he fell in love with the sport. He was able to get in a league that included him and treated him like every other player. The level of growth we saw in him was amazing. The biggest struggle has been the lack of knowledge to teach him or any coaching staff how to address different needs. A simple adaption of how to hold a glove, change your batting stance in order to maintain your balance, or how to pitch while still protecting your body from injury are all things that can help kids, like CJ, learn and thrive in sports.
We had the amazing privilege of joining a program called NubAbility last year at their baseball camp in Ft. Myers. The foundation caters to kids with limb differences and teaches them how to play the game their own way. Every kid needs guidance and instruction. The difference is that these coaches and staff have had to learn and think “outside the batter’s box.” Their knowledge is unparalleled and the things they could teach Little League coaches in this area would be a world of difference.
By educating coaches and Little League on how to teach kids who may need to adapt their play or who are even missing a limb would give players the confidence to always pursue their passions. It would also enable the other players and parents in the league to see kids with differences in a new light without the stigma of being “handicapped” or “special.” These are kids who want to and can play the game just like anyone else.
I look forward to working with you and the league in the future.