NewsNortheast Valley NewsScottsdale News


'Miracle League' in Scottsdale helping family cope during difficult year

Posted at 10:40 PM, May 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 01:40:59-04

12-year-old Drew Boedigheimer loves to do two things; play baseball and Pokémon.

A heart transplant recipient, he's been swinging for the fences since 2015 at the Miracle League of Arizona, a specially adapted baseball field and stadium.

"He's never ran or jumped in his life and that's why Miracle League of Arizona has been such a great place for him, that he can be a normal kid when he steps into the facility," says his dad, Todd Boedigheimer.

But like so many other sporting venues, COVID-19 forced the ballpark to temporarily close.

It was a tough blow to Drew and so many other kids who love to play there.

Phoenix Children's Hospital pediatric psychologist Dr. Carla Allan says COVID-19 has been especially tough for children with special needs because many are sensitive to changes in their routine.

"It's all about that predictability and there's comfort that comes with that, to know what's coming next," says Dr. Allan.

For some families, video games have helped, giving kids a social connection through the screen, while waiting for outdoor opportunities to open back up.

Still, the outdoors offers many benefits, says Dr. Allan, "fresh air and just changing our scenery and getting away from screens can really help our brains and stress levels reset."

The Miracle League of Arizona has been allowing kids and parents to come by, have fun, and take batting practice. But for families like the Boedigheimers, the call to "play ball" can't come soon enough. They hope the season will get underway as early as October.