A senior Transverse Myelitis softball player making us proud

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A senior Transverse Myelitis softball player making us proud

Postby Rox » Sat Jun 26, 2010 6:01 am

Area seniors enjoy a softball league of their own
25 June 2010

For players in the ‘Huff-N-Puffers’ senior softball league, reality is sometimes a cold splash in the face. The Huff-N-Puffers are celebrating their 25th anniversary this summer. About 240 seniors 60 and older play in the league.

One of the league’s founders, Joe Drago of Strongsville, will soon have to retire due to macular degeneration. He’s playing his last season. When Drago was told he doesn’t look 87, his buddies pounced. “He’s well-preserved!” one said. “Blame his wife — she feeds him,” said another.

“We just want people out here,” said Jim Kipfstuhl, 78, of Garfield Heights. “You don’t have to be a great player.”

“I play for fun,” Kipfstuhl said. “Some people don’t. If they don’t win, it’s the end of the world. If I don’t win, tomorrow’s another day.”

Kipfstuhl, a 15-year Huff-N-Puffers veteran, wants to stay involved. He can hit and catch but can’t run. He takes short, easy steps to first base.

It’s amazing that Kipfstuhl is playing. About 11 years ago he was diagnosed with a rare disease called transverse myelitis.

The disease took away Kipfstuhl’s balance and left him paralyzed in the lower part of his body. He was flat on his back for 10 days in February 1999.

Kipfstuhl’s physical therapist asked him how quickly he would like to recover. Kipfstuhl said he wanted to be playing softball by Labor Day.

“My therapist just rolled his eyes — but I was playing on Labor Day weekend,” Kipfstuhl said.

Full story:
http://www.cleveland.com/sun/all/index. ... tball.html
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