BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Youth athletes with developmental and physical disabilities came together on Sunday to play ball at Garvey Park in Dorchester for Martin Richard Challenger Baseball on Opening Day.
More than thirty Challenger athletes, along with their peer buddies and volunteer coaches, took to the diamond to play a game of baseball in celebration of acceptance, courage, and friendship, officials said.
Created in part by the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester's Inclusive Services and the Martin Richard Foundation, the program promotes the mindset that every child should be given the opportunity to play a sport among a team of friends. Challenger athletes are accompanied by a Buddy who acts as a helper to the player on the field, but primarily the duo become friends and develop meaningful bonds throughout the season. The program is named after Martin Richard, the youngest victim in the Boston Marathon Bombings.
WBZ's Suzanne Sausville spoke to one of the athletes named Anthony, who's playing his last full season in the league as he's heading off to college in Washington D.C.
"I've been a player in this league since the beginning, were it not for this I don't know how I would be able to participate in sports. I use a wheelchair, and there aren't too many adaptive sports programs that I know of," Anthony said.
On the mound was Martin Richard's father, Bill Richard.
WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports.