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Challenger Baseball for youth with cognitive, physical disabilities comes to region

PHOTO. Supplied.

Challenger Baseball Canada is now available in Wood Buffalo.

The program gives children and youth with cognitive or physical disabilities the opportunity to play baseball based on their abilities.

Kevin Breen, president of Fort McMurray Minor Baseball said the program is something our region was in need of.

“I said ‘this is something that we need,’ there’s a group of kids that don’t have the opportunity to play. I really love baseball and my whole family loves baseball, so being able to broaden the spectrum of people that are able to enjoy the game is important.”

He said that the Jays Care Foundation supplied adaptive equipment like whistling balls for people with eyesight impairment and softer bats and balls.

Barb Fitzpatrick, whose son Josh has cerebral palsy, worked with Breen to start up the program.

“He was looking for a parent to come on board to help get the word out through our support groups and whatnot. Of course I was all over that having a little boy with cerebral palsy and wanting him to be included in different sports and stuff.”

She said while the age range is 4-19 years old they don’t want to turn anybody away, so exceptions are being made.

When asked what his favourite part of the first day of the program was, Josh replied “Brandon”, who was his buddy for the session.

The sessions run on Mondays to allow players from competitive baseball teams to be “buddies” who hang out with the athletes and help them with the game.

Breen said that while they weren’t sure how many people to expect, nearly 40 people have registered as of June 10.

He pointed out that most teams in the province sit around 15-20 players.

Registration is open at $25, and volunteers are always welcome.

More information can be found on Facebook.