High School Sports: Spina Bifida no Match for Niles North Pitcher James Fuller

This past April must have been inspiration month as another article about an athlete facing tough adversity (and many surgeries) to accomplish something most just take for granted―playing high school baseball.

In the Chicago Sun-Times, a piece titled Undeterred by spina bifida, Niles North senior stunning foes on mound highlights the difficulties associated with such a debilitating birth defect, one that normally leaves its victims with "nerve damage and paralysis in the legs," with some confined to wheelchairs.

What is so miraculous and inspiring about Mr. Fuller’s story is not only that he plays on a high school varsity team, but that he has become Niles North’s number one pitcher in his senior year. And if that was not enough, he also “played on the golf team for four years, [and] plays wheelchair basketball.”

This is one active kid, more active than a good number of able-bodied students I know. In fact, it is in reading stories like this that help continue to broaden my own perspective on what people are truly capable of doing when they take it upon themselves to push their own limits.

Ah yes, amazing what the young (and old for that matter) can do, regardless of the obstacles that lie before them, when they simply don’t see their circumstance as being adverse. For a good number of people, the “shunt” James has, the risk of “kidney infections,” and the “sores on his feet from” the “braces” he must wear would be enough to keep many “out of the game.”

Not James though; to him it’s just part of his life, not really an obstacle at all. Just a piece of who he is.

I encourage you to read the Sun-Times article linked above. James has certainly got my vote for MVP!!!

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