When Peter Fallmann was still in utero, he had a stroke. He is now six-years-old, a student at Caleb Creek Elementary School, and has developmental disabilities, mild cerebral palsy, and seizures. Peter is also a baseball player and has been playing baseball with an organization called The Miracle League of High Point.
Because he is so young, Peter is not eligible to play sports with the Special Olympics, which requires that children be age eight and above to participate. Michelle Fallmann, his mother, related her story of desperation.
“I was desperate to find something, somewhere, for my son to belong to,” she confided. “We tried to get him into regular sports and we were asked to leave because he didn’t do well in those types of situations and couldn’t keep up. Some other teams offered to let him play, but I knew people would get impatient with a child on the team who needed so much extra attention. I got on the Internet and Googled it, looking for some place where Peter could play and The Miracle League popped up. We called and told them about Peter’s situation and asked what we needed to do to join and they said ‘We’re it for you!’ And they were!”
The only requirements for joining The Miracle League is that the child be at least five-years-old, have a diagnosed disability, and an Individual Educational Plan. There are no tryouts and everyone wins and everyone gets a trophy. The teams are set up so there is a fair mix of children with different abilities.
“That way, you don’t end up with one team with just kids in wheelchairs,” said Fallmann. “It’s two innings and everybody wins.”
Programs like this are difficult to find and according to Fallmann, people come from many different parts of the Triad to participate.
“We have people coming from as far away as Asheboro and even further because it’s the only organization around that is like this. The field and even the playgrounds are completely handicapped accessible.”
For Fallmann, there are many positive aspects of belonging to The Miracle League. The first is that, of course, Peter gets to play baseball.
“The Miracle League believes every child deserves a chance to play baseball,” she stated.
The second benefit of belonging to The Miracle League is that, thanks to the volunteers, parents of disabled children are able to set aside the caregiver role and just be parents.
“For me,” Fallmann explained, “this lets us be parents and sit in the audience and cheer for our kids. I get to be ‘just a parent’ for the first time ever. For that one hour of ball, I am that mom rooting for her son, not the caretaker.”
For Peter, there has been a very special benefit – improved hand-eye coordination.
“When Peter first started, he was playing tee ball, but now he can actually hit a pitched ball,” she shared.
“And it’s free,” Fallmann added. “We spend so much on his (Peter’s) medications and therapies that it’s amazing to find something like this that is free.”
Fallmann wants to get the word out about The Miracle League. She said there are probably a lot of other parents out there who are experiencing the same things she has and she wants people to know there is a place for their child to play ball, regardless of his or her disabilities, age, or gender. She also encourages people to step up and volunteer.
“The volunteers stay with the kids, so if they have a meltdown or problem in the middle of the field, it’s no big deal. We are short volunteers, so maybe if some churches could send people out to volunteer, that would be so helpful.”
If you would be interested in volunteering or getting your organization involved in volunteering for The Miracle League, contact Wendy Brosnan at (336) 883-3481 or visit www.hpmiracleleague.org and go to their volunteer page.