Abbott’s indomitable spirit has helped her rebound from the physical and emotional swings of losing part of her leg. She has three prosthetic devices and is in the process of acclimating to a fourth—an Oscar Pistorius blade-like attachment that will allow her to return to running.
During her time in the hospital, Abbott met a young boy from Rhode Island who was suffering from epilepsy. She encountered the boy’s mother at a baseball game in Newport, R.I., later in the summer when she was throwing out the first pitch, and learned how it feels to be a role model.
“He told his mom, ‘Heather doesn’t have a leg, and I saw her throw out the ball and smile. If she can do that, I can too,’” Abbott recalled. “I’ve been pretty good about not getting too emotional about all of this. But sometimes it’s hard to do.”[/bq]
[bq]Through the events of this summer, Saltalamacchia has made personal connections that transcend signing a game program or tossing a ball to a kid over the roof of the dugout. During one hospital visit, a father recounted his efforts to make sure his 3-year-old son was safe amid the chaos. The father scooped up the boy in anticipation of running, then looked down and discovered, to his horror, that his leg was shredded so badly he couldn’t move. How can anyone hear that story and not be changed forever?