Let’s Play Ball!

October 13, 2022

Charlie's custom-fitted glove makes it easier to play little league

Youth sports are something almost every child wants to experience with their peers at an early age. Little kids uniformly start swinging a bat and catching a ball, or picking the grass in the outfield. Kids have to start somewhere!

When Charlie was ready to play baseball, his Dad was unsure how Charlie could participate because of his hand difference. His Mom figured that Charlie would find a way with support from his family. They agreed never to hold Charlie back from participation in sports. Charlie signed up and joined the team, but struggled with use of a glove because of his small hand size.

Charlie was born with symbrachydactyly of his right hand. His index and middle finger were joined together, and his thumb webbing was shortened. At 18 months, Charlie underwent surgery to separate the index and middle fingers and to provide more thumb. His middle finger was born without a joint near the tip and was permanently stuck in a slightly bent position (about 45 degrees). His hand was not typical to fit into the regular five-finger glove off the shelves at the sporting goods store.

When it came time for his annual check-up with his hand surgeon, Scott Kozin, M.D., chief of staff at Shriners Children’s Philadelphia, Charlie mentioned how he played and enjoyed baseball, but they were unable to find a glove that fit his hand.

Dr. Kozin knew just how to fix that problem! He has been working with the team at Wilson Sporting Goods, quietly connecting families over the years with the development team to make custom gloves to fit children with all sorts of different types of hands.

Charlie’s Mom, Theresa, included in the note to Jeremy, one of the Wilson technicians, “His right hand is much smaller than his left. He throws better with his left hand (although he has right-hand dominant). He currently wears a small glove which makes it harder for him to catch.”

Jeremy and the team worked very hard to help Charlie. Photos of Charlie’s hand were sent with specific views and additional measurements and, despite supply chain issues due to lingering COVID domino effects and problems with the embroidery machine, the customized glove was made just in time for the first day of spring baseball practice. Charlie was amazed. The experience was better than Christmas morning watching him open up his special delivery custom-made glove.

Charlie went to practice proud and excited to show off his glove. He could put away the small glove and wear a glove that genuinely fit his hand. His teammates and coach were thrilled for him, some even envious. Charlie’s custom glove from Wilson gave him the confidence booster that he needed. Charlie was able to play outfield and second base.

Theresa said she is always happy to hear Charlie yelling, “Watch me!” while playing baseball field using his glove that perfectly fits on his hand!

Besides playing baseball, Charlie, now 9-years-old, enjoys spending time with ,Vallie, his older sister and his parents, and he is adjusting to the fourth grade. When not found on the baseball field or in school, he enjoys strumming the guitar and playing video games.

Although Charlie’s hand was a surprise at birth, his parents found the care and treatment he needed from the team at Shriners Children’s over the years. The glove was just the icing on the cake! At a regular check-up appointment with Dr. Kozin, Charlie was connected with the Wilson Sporting Goods Team to help him obtain a custom glove and play baseball. The entire experience made Shriners Children’s in Philadelphia a special place in their hearts.

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