Participating in sports provides opportunities to learn valuable lessons. Through organized sports young athletes learn to be part of a team, stay committed and push their limits. On Saturday, September 16, patients from Kentucky Children’s Hospital (KCH) and Shriners Hospital for Children Medical Center — Lexington learned there are no limits to what they can do.
The annual NoLimitsSports Camp, hosted by Shriners Medical Center, was a little different this year. With their recent move to the UK medical campus on South Limestone, Shriners Medical Center needed a new venue for their event; UK Athletics offered Cliff Hagan Stadium and John Cropp Stadium and some help from the members of the UK Baseball and UK Softball teams and Head Coaches Rachel Lawson and Nick Mingione
Throughout the day patients had a chance to practice and develop their baseball or softball skills with drills in batting, catching, throwing and nutrition. A member of UK Baseball or UK Softball accompanied their “buddy” to each of the stations to help them one-on-one.
JP David, who has participated in the NoLimits Sports Camp in previous years, was able to get in on the fun once again. For 12 years, David has been seeing physicians at Shriners Medical Center and KCH to receive care for cerebral palsy. David’s mother accompanied him to the camp, as she’s done in previous years. She appreciates that Shriners Hospitals for Children give patients the opportunity to have typical childhood experiences, especially when their health can sometimes prevent them from creating those memories. She said, “He would love to just keep going but his body won’t let him. But when they host events like this; he realizes he’s not the only one and he feels like a normal kid.”
For the first-time patients at KCH were also invited to participate in the camps. Jackson Russell, who's no stranger to UK Baseball, was glad to be back at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Russell has undergone two open heart surgeries in the first five years of his life. He is also being treated for pulmonary atresia. Baseball is important to the Russell family, after Jackson’s diagnosis his father, Shannon founded a nonprofit that helps other children diagnosed with heart conditions enjoy the sport. They were excited to spend the afternoon with members of their favorite baseball team, Shannon said “For a program like this to take time out of their days to make these kids smile and have a memorable moment is tremendous. It’s something that they’ll never forget.”
Illness can often take away the opportunity for young patients to have the same experiences as other children or their siblings. Sometimes things that happen outside of a clinical setting can be incredibly beneficial for health and wellness, Scottie Day, M.D., physician in chief of Kentucky Children’s Hospital said, “The opportunity for a child to attend this camp gives them an experience that proves to have a long-lasting effect on psychosocial development, including self-esteem, peer relationships, independence, leadership, values and willingness to try new things.”