8-year-old Adam Bender lost his leg to cancer as a baby, but his disability hasn't stopped him from becoming a star player in baseball and several other sports.
As far as most kids are concerned, playing baseball for a local Little League team is just a bit of summer fun. But for 8-year-old Adam Bender of Lexington, Kentucky, baseball isn’t just a game. Adam lost his left leg to cancer at the age of one, and now hops around without a prosthetic limb. Baseball and other sports provide the young boy with the opportunity to show everyone else what he’s capable of in spite of his disability—which, as it turns out, is far more than anyone would have guessed.
When Adam told his parents he wanted to play baseball, they weren’t sure if it was a good idea. They feared that their son would be teased and mocked over his missing leg, and that he wouldn’t be able to hit the ball or run from base to base.
“I thought his spirit might be crushed if he got out every time,” his mother, Michelle Bender, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Then I thought, who am I to micromanage his feelings? He’s going to have to learn how to deal with this stuff.”
Although Adam’s had some minor mishaps on the baseball diamond, he’s become extremely adept as a catcher on the field. He’s also a pro at getting around the bases after hitting the ball, hopping over to first base before using his crutches to run around the rest of the diamond.
While that sounds challenging enough, Adam isn’t content to sit out the rest of the seasons. Last fall, he participated in flag football at his YMCA, and quickly became one of the team’s star players.
“We put him at quarterback (using no crutches) and used a shotgun snap,” said his football coach, Bruce Rector. “He threw a lot of touchdown passes.”
He also plays soccer for a local kids’ team, using crutches when it comes time to kick the ball.
Although Adam will never be the fastest player in any sport, he’s always a valuable asset to his teammates.
“Adam has helped other kids see that a person with a disability can be fun to hang out with, and play with, and they can still be a part of a community or part of a team. It’s developed the kids’ compassion,” said Michelle Bender. “And if he can inspire even one family to allow their kid to try something they normally might not try, that’s great.”
Want to see Adam in action? Check out this inspiring clip of him playing a game of baseball.