Pediatric patients play ball with UK athletes at No Limits camp

Don’t miss the video at the end of this post to see highlights from this year’s camp!

Patients from Kentucky Children’s Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children Medical Center Lexington learned there are no limits to what they can do at the No Limits Baseball and Softball Camps this past Saturday.

After moving to the UK medical campus on South Limestone earlier this year, Shriners needed a new venue for the annual No Limits event. UK Athletics stepped up to the plate, offering Cliff Hagan Stadium and John Cropp Stadium as well as some help from the members of the UK Baseball and UK Softball teams, including head coaches Rachel Lawson and Nick Mingione.

Throughout the day, patients had a chance to practice and develop their baseball and softball skills with drills in batting, catching, throwing and nutrition. A member of UK Baseball or UK Softball accompanied their “buddy” to each of the stations to help them one-on-one.

Fun on the field for patients and parents

JP David, who has participated in the No Limits Camp in previous years, was able to get in on the fun once again. For 12 years, David has seen physicians at Shriners and KCH to receive care for cerebral palsy. David’s mother accompanied him to the camp, as she’s done in previous years. She appreciates that Shriners gives patients the opportunity to have typical childhood experiences.

“He would love to just keep going but his body won’t let him,” she said. “But when they host events like this, he realizes he’s not the only one and he feels like a normal kid.”

For the first time, patients at KCH were also invited to participate in the camps. Jaxon Russell, a big fan of UK Baseball, was glad to be at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Russell has undergone two open-heart surgeries in the first five years of his life. He is also being treated for pulmonary atresia. His parents, Shannon and Miranda, were excited to be a part of the big day.

“For a program like this to take time out of their days to make these kids smile and have a memorable moment is tremendous,” Miranda said. “It’s something that they’ll never forget.”

After Jaxon’s diagnosis, Shannon and Miranda founded a nonprofit organization that helps other children diagnosed with heart conditions enjoy the game of baseball.

Long-lasting benefits

Illness can often take away the opportunity for young patients to have the same experiences as other children or their siblings. Sometimes things that happen outside of a clinical setting can be incredibly beneficial for health and wellness, said Dr. Scottie Day, physician-in-chief at Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

“The opportunity for a child to attend this camp gives them an experience that proves to have a long-lasting effect on psychosocial development, including self-esteem, peer relationships, independence, leadership, values and willingness to try new things,” he said.

Three patients who attended the camp also will have the opportunity to represent Kentucky in the 2018 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic next year in Houston, where they will serve as Kentucky’s batgirls/batboys during the tournament.


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