By Lisa Hughes


BRIGHTON (CBS) – Baseball is still America’s pastime, and Friday, kids with disabilities got to step up to the plate. It’s part of a special summer camp run by Franciscan Children’s Hospital.

And for the kids in the adaptive baseball program, it was a home run. On a field in Brighton, about a dozen children and a dozen coaches swung the bats and ran the bases. Everyone was an all-star during the wrap up of a weeklong summer baseball camp.

“We’re doing a baseball game because it’s the last day and the coaches thought it would be fun,” said camper Steven De Angelis with a laugh.

“It’s a camp for kids with special needs. Children having autism, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, any kind of physical, developmental disability,” said Maria Fragala-Pinkham, the director of adaptive sports and a physical therapist at Franciscan Children’s.

Summer camps at Franciscan Children’s Hospital offer adaptive sports such as baseball. (WBZ-TV)

This camp is one of the adaptive programs from the hospital, which is one of the nation’s largest pediatric rehab facilities. The camp motto is: “So every kid can play.”

“The lesson is that you’re able to do anything, no matter what, as long as you work on it and have others to help you,” said camper Keren Augustin.

And there’s plenty of help here, with coaches pairing up with kids for one-on-one attention.

“I do this because it’s really fun and rewarding to work with kids and watch them learn and just play like any other kid,” said coach Katelyn Smiles.

It’s a ton of fun, but it’s also a form of therapy.

“Lots of physical activity. They’re learning sports skills; they’re developing their balance, their coordination and endurance,” said Fragala-Pinkham.

All that while the kids get to hang out with their peers.

“I make a lot of friends,” said camper Zainab Husain.

“From this camp, there’s been friendships that have developed that continue all year round,” says Fragala-Pinkham.

Franciscan Children’s Hospital also has an adaptive bike camp starting next week.

Lisa Hughes

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