LACETT | Pitcher overcomes stroke to throw strikes
Shortly after birth, a stroke left Ben Otten paralyzed on his left side. Now he's the closing pitcher for his school.
LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) – For Ben Otten, there’s no better feeling than taking his place on the pitcher’s mound.
“I can control anything what happens within a game,” said the 16 year old.
The key word for Ben is control. You see, there was a time where controlling his body, let alone a baseball game seemed next to impossible.
“Ben had a stroke when he was two days old. It paralyzed his left side, “said his mother Nancy.
Ben struggled growing up. He couldn’t crawl until the age of two. He couldn’t walk correctly until five. Early on, doctors were ready to give up on therapy but not his mother Nancy, who decided to matters into her own hands.
“It took basically every hour that he was awake, I was doing some kind of gentle therapy on him,” said Nancy.
Through countless hours of rehabilitation, Ben started to get better. Eventually his mother introduced him to sports. At six, he started playing baseball. At ten, he started pitching, determined to use his still partially paralyzed left side.
“I would go to throw a ball and I would look down at my hand and say brain 'open your hand.' I was throwing hundreds of pitches just to get it down,” said Ben
“He just kept trying and he did it,” said Nancy. “ I can’t believe it because it’s very hard to do.”
Ben now a junior and is the closing pitcher at Christian Educational Consortium, a private school in Louisville. His fastball reaches 82 miles an hour.
“There is no reason to know Ben is any different than anyone else out here,” said head coach Scott Dibble. “Except that he threw a little harder.”
Control is something Ben Otten never takes for granted. Not in baseball. Not in life.
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