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Cerebral Palsy Victim Becomes Star Softball Pitcher

Cerebral palsy can make certain aspects of life difficult to navigate, especially athletics. However, in Omaha, Nebraska a 15-year-old girl named Claire Poeckes is showing what cerebral palsy patients can accomplish with determination and hard work.

Playing with one hand

Claire is a left-handed pitcher in fast-pitch softball, even though she was born with cerebral palsy that affects the right side of her body, mainly her arm and leg. The only difference between Claire and a non-disabled pitcher is when Claire lets go of a pitch, she has to transfer her glove from her right hand, which is basically unusable, to her left hand so she can field a ball.

Everyone who sees Claire pitch is inspired by her performance including her coach, Jan Headley, who said, “She’s quite a good pitcher. Her ball movement is phenomenal. It’s an inspiration just to watch her pitch.”

Inspiring others

Others are equally inspired including Claire’s teammates and their families. Second basemen Liz Denniston said, “It’s absolutely amazing, everything she can do. My family came and was astonished. But to Claire, it’s like, ‘No big deal. Whatever.’ “

Claire was first introduced to disabled athletes when her dad showed her a videotape of Jim Abbott, a major league pitcher with only one hand. Since watching the inspirational video, Claire has practiced pitching in her basement, getting so used to changing her glove that she thinks nothing of it, declaring it “normal.”

Finishing up her freshman year in May, Claire will be a sophomore in the fall, working hard at school and playing softball with her league, pitching, hitting, running bases, and living life to the fullest.

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