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Boy dreaming of the diamond

March 02, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

Eight days after a sport utility vehicle crashed into him and crushed his arm, 12-year-old Tyler Jones was not dwelling on negatives Monday.

Instead, he's thinking about his return to school later this month and a return to the Little League baseball diamond before the summer ends.

Tyler, a seventh-grader at Springfield Middle School and an honor roll student, is recovering from injuries he suffered Feb. 22 in the front yard of his 215 Artizan St. home.

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At 6:15 p.m. that day, a Jeep Cherokee hopped a curb, struck him and pinned him to the ground, Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies said.

The driver, 16, was charged with 11 motor vehicle violations, deputies said.

Tyler remains hospitalized at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition Monday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Although deputies feared Tyler would lose his arm because of the extensive damage, his father, Monte Jones, said that is not likely going to be the case.

Jones, a Williamsport councilman and owner of Always Catering and Byers Market, both in Williamsport, said his son is improving daily.

"The doctors feel it's going to be OK," Jones said. "There's no guarantees for anything until he's back to normal, but right now we feel like everything is going to be OK."

Jones said Tyler has been able to move his fingers. He said doctors, who performed five surgeries on him in eight days, are happy with Tyler's progress, but are unsure whether he will have full use of his arm.

Jones said the hospital stint has broken Tyler's streak of never missing a day of school and likely will break his five-year-streak of playing baseball for Conococheague Little League.

Despite everything Tyler has gone through, family members and deputies have said the youngster has maintained a positive outlook. Jones called his son "a trouper," and said the boy has not shed a tear since being struck.

"I never really thought anything like this would ever happen, but things happen," Tyler said.

He said he is trying to make the best of a bad situation.

Tyler said he is looking forward to "going to school and seeing all my friends." He said the visits and prayers from school friends and family members have helped him remain positive throughout the ordeal.

When the Little League season opens on April 17, Tyler expects to be on the field. He said he is going to help out as a coach and will try to give players a lift from the bench.

Despite the severity of his injury, the young Atlanta Braves fan is not giving up on pitching and playing third base again in the near future.

"I'm hoping I'll be able to play a little this year," he said.

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