Baseball Team Drafts Player Despite Paralyzing Injury

Jeanne Sager
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Johnathan TaylorThe big news of the MLB Draft was supposed to be the first overall pick. But forget about Gerrit Cole. He'll have many days to come for the Pirates. Today is the day for Johnathan Taylor. Johnathan who, you ask?

Johnathan Taylor, a University of Georgia outfielder, wasn't picked until the 33rd round by the Texas Rangers. But today is his day because he'll never play a day of baseball for the team, and they wanted him anyway. You'll have to let him enjoy it in his wheelchair.

Taylor is what they call a tetraplegic. Paralyzed in a collision in the outfield in March with Bulldogs teammate Zach Cone, who was also drafted by the Rangers, albeit in the second round, Taylor suffered two fractured vertebrae. His paralysis extends to his extremities, and he's unlikely to ever walk again.

The Rangers say they drafted him because it was "the right thing to do." They've had a relationship with him since he was a high schooler, and prior to his accident, he was on their short list for players they wanted in the organization. And then the collision happened. That they followed through is a PR bonanza for the team.

But it's also just good juju for all involved. Johnathan doesn't have to be the kid who went from playing backyard ball to being thisclose to the major leagues. He made it. He was drafted by the Texas Rangers. He's a modern day Moonlight Graham -- the doctor/baseball player made famous by the movie Field of Dreams for making it to the major leagues but never actually getting an at bat.

Taylor's been through an awful lot more than most humans can bear, and he's got a lot more work to go through -- doctors hope his condition will improve, but it means more physical therapy and, of course, likely a lifetime in a wheelchair. Can we just give this guy his day?

 

Image via University of Georgia

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