Missouri pitcher loses 3 fingers and is better than ever

Sixteen-year-old Layne Robinson had to have three fingers on his pitching hand amputated after an ATV accident but he didn't let that stop him.

At Blazer Field in O'Fallon, Illinois, the game hasn't even started yet but we already know the winner.

Layne Robinson, 16, is a left-handed pitcher and outfielder for the Missouri Bulls.

"He kind of makes our team go," said Bulls coach Joe Bickings. "If he gets hits, then everyone else just follows right behind him."

The Bulls are a travel team from Cape Girardeau and Layne's been on quite a journey.

He's been playing baseball since before he could figure out his own batting average. 

But on his 15th birthday, while riding his ATV,  life threw him a change-up.

"It was raining out, slick road, we turned and I overturned the ATV and my hand got hurt," Robinson recalled.

He was also knocked unconscious. Paramedics were called. When he woke up, he called his mom.

"I said Layne are you OK and he said yes but everything I've worked for my whole entire life is gone," remembered Layne's mom, Connie Robinson.

Layne arrived at St. Louis Children's Hospital by ambulance all the way from Cape Girardeau and his hand was in pretty bad shape.

"So it was rough," said Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Charles Goldfarb.

Dr. Goldfarb rushed him into surgery but the news wasn't good. 

"He had traumatized the middle three fingers too severely to save them," explained Dr. Goldfarb.

Dr. Goldfarb had to amputate the pointer, middle and ring fingers on his left hand.  Layne thought it was game-over for his baseball career.

"I didn't know if I'd ever be able to play again. I was actually pretty scared about that," Robinson said.

You've no doubt heard there is no crying in baseball but there is tenacity. Just three months after the accident, Layne was back on the field.

"At first when I came back my hand was very sensitive so I kind of started off hitting everything lightly," Robinson said.

Though he had just two fingers, Dr. Goldfarb's surgery preserved function in Layne's left hand, the rest was determination.

"Just trying with different angles of everything. Throwing, hitting and just learning how to work with it basically," said Robinson.

He not only returned to the field, he returned to the starting lineup.  And on this day, he opened the game for the Bulls with a triple.

The only ones not surprised by all this were his teammates.

"He's got the mind of a baseball player, he's got the heart of a baseball player and anything he puts his mind to, he's going to do it," said teammate Layne Johnson.

It was the great Babe Ruth who once said, "It's a hard to beat a person who never gives up." And it helps when family and friends don't give up on you.

"They kept pushing me and saying 'Hey, you can do this,' and kept giving me hope everyday," Robinson said.

"It's a reminder for me as a physician of what people can accomplish when they really set their mind to it," added Dr. Goldfarb.

Layne Robinson, keeping a firm grip on his dreams. When it comes to perseverance, he's in a league of his own.

© 2017 KSDK-TV


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