Toyota Miracle Baseball League

coachingBy Thomas W. Miller

The Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League is specifically designed for children with disabilities that include both physical and mental special needs.

The benefits of sports participation for children with disabilities are numerous.

Founded in 2006, the Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League is the result of the hard work and dedication from a legion of community leaders and volunteers who wanted to create a “league of their own” for kids with disabilities.

Inspired by similar programs around the country, the Lexington Rotary Club, among others, spearheaded the efforts to raise the funds and build the specially designed field and facilities.

Each Saturday during the spring and fall, children ages 5-19 participate in baseball at its finest and where everyone is a winner.

The Miracle League first began in Lexington with the title sponsors being Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc., BB&T and the Rotary Club of Lexington.

The TBML has an agreement with the YMCA of Central Kentucky for management services for the operation of the field, facilities and league oper-ations.

With the YMCA’s over-sight, TBML offers opportunities for children with mental and/or physical challenges to engage in sport activities like baseball.

The organization designs and constructs custom baseball fields that have a rubberized turf to prevent injuries, wheelchair-accessible dugouts and a completely flat surface to eliminate barriers to wheelchair-bound or visually-impaired children.

There are more than 180 Miracle Leagues across the country with the motto that “Every Child Deserves a Chance to Play Baseball.”

The design and construction of Miracle League include a custom-designed field with a cushioned rubberized surface to help prevent injuries, wheelchair accessible dugouts, and a completely flat surface to eliminate any barriers to wheelchair-bound or visually impaired players.

Accessible restrooms, a concession stand and picnic pavilion were included in the design.

Each player would bat once each inning and all batters would be safe and score a run before the inning was over.

Each team and each player always wins. Umpires says this is the only league where no one ever gets mad at them.

“Buddies” assist Miracle League players.

miracle-leagueHealth care providers including family physicians, pediatricians, child psychologists, educators and other professionals provide help for parents and coaches in determining readiness of a child to participate in organized sports.

Readiness is often defined relative to the demands of the sport.

Sport activity programs for children with special needs should complement, not replace, the regular physical activity that is a part of free play, child-organized games, recreational sports and physical education programs in the schools.

Regular physical activity should be encouraged for all children regardless of their level of participation in organized sports activities.

The Toyota Bluegrass Miracle League and similar programs around the country are making a place for children with special needs to enjoy sports among their peers.

Visit the website and come out to a ballgame at Shillito Park.