Keyon has always been a fan of sports. But the youngest member of Special Tree’s Royal Oak pediatric residence, didn’t have the opportunity to play competitively prior the severe brain injury he experienced in 2009, until now. For the first time, Keyon is starting the baseball season as a team player. This summer, Keyon is playing baseball on the Miracle League, an organization that provides children with challenges an opportunity to play baseball as a team member on an organized league. Each week Keyon and his assistive “buddy” bat, catch, throw and run the bases. An experience that’s not only helped Keyon grow, but has been encouraging for the Royal Oak staff who regularly attend. “It’s very exciting for us,” says Joanna Kirkpatrick, Royal Oak Residential Program Manager. “He’s come such a long way and it’s exciting to see him do normal things that just a year before were far beyond his reach.” When Keyon first came to Special Tree, he was on a ventilator and was unable to eat on his own. After a year of intensive rehabilitation and hard work, Keyon transitioned from the NeuroCare Center to the Royal Oak residence. Since arriving at his new home, Keyon’s progress has moved to a whole new level. Keyon now eats a normal diet and is working with STRS Physical Therapists to learn how to walk again. And despite a busy therapy schedule, Keyon has managed to forge new friendships and have some fun, baseball being the highlight.
“Keyon really lights up when he’s playing baseball,” said Joanna. “Especially when the energy is high, the fans cheer and he crosses home plate.” Score!