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Recovering from injury, Tyler Jones rejoins team

The Williamsport 12-year-old has resumed playing Little League baseball just months after an accident almost cost him his arm.

The Williamsport 12-year-old has resumed playing Little League baseball just months after an accident almost cost him his arm.

May 10, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - When Tyler Jones was hospitalized after a Jeep struck him in the front yard of his Williamsport home and badly injured his arm, his biggest concern was whether he could play Little League baseball this summer, family members said.

Despite fears of doctors and family members that he would lose his arm following the February accident, Tyler stepped onto the field last week as a player.

Tyler, 12, saw limited play for the Byers Market team in the Conococheague Little League on Tuesday - one at bat - and played again Saturday.

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The Springfield Middle School student said it felt "normal" playing again.

Normal is good, Tyler and family members said.

"I just wanted to play, get out there," Tyler said. On Saturday, Tyler got one hit - a single - in two at-bats in the team's win. He hit a home run in practice Sunday, said his father, Monte Jones.

"It's unbelievable," Jones said. "The team's calling him the good luck charm."

Tyler said in an interview in early March that he was determined to play baseball again this year.

On Thursday, Tyler - who was fidgeting, playing with a skateboard and reminding his father it was time to go to batting practice - said he'd had doubts.

"I didn't think I was going to play this year," Tyler said.

Tyler was hospitalized at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center for several weeks after he was injured on Feb. 22 in the front yard of his 215 S. Artizan St. home. A Jeep Cherokee hopped a curb, struck him and pinned him to the ground, Washington County Sheriff's Department deputies said.

The 16-year-old driver, whom authorities did not name, was charged with 11 motor vehicle violations, deputies said.

The accident left Tyler with no triceps muscle in his right arm and a limited range of motion.

He has been in physical therapy about three times a week, helping make his recovery faster than expected, his father said.

Jones, a Williamsport councilman and owner of Always Catering and Byers Market, said Tyler was relentless in asking for permission to play, especially after the season began.

"Every day he'd call me on my cell phone and say, 'Call my doctor; did you find out if I could play yet?'" Jones said.

Tyler has some limitations on the field as a result of his injury, his father said. He is allowed to hit and run to first base, but a pinch runner must take over because doctors do not want him to slide and risk further injury, Jones said.

He said Tyler also is not able to play his former positions - pitcher and third base - because of his inability to throw long distances.

Tyler also was forced to alter his hitting style, Jones said. He said Tyler was one of the team's top power hitters and batted fourth in the lineup.

Tyler's twin brother, Timber Jones, picked up some of that slack in the team's first game this season, hitting a grand slam, Jones said. He said Tyler hit his first home run, a grand slam, in the first game of the 2003 season.

"It must be a twin thing," he said.

Timber said having Tyler back on the team will be a big help.

"I was glad, because we really needed him," Timber said.

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