Article was originally written and shared on KWWL
PARKERSBURG, Iowa – One organization in the Cedar Valley is making sports more accessible to kids with disabilities. All-Play Ball Park in Parkersburg is the first all-inclusive sports complex in northeast Iowa.
The $2.1 million dollar project finished in September. It has three Little League fields, one regulation baseball field, and three soccer fields.
But what makes All-Play Ball Park different than other sports complexes is the rubber baseball field located in the middle of the park. It’s called the ‘Miracle League’ field. Because of its surface, children with wheelchairs can participate.
A VISION SEVEN YEARS IN THE MAKING
Matt Waller created the nonprofit organization, Diamonds and Fields in 2012.
When he was younger, his older brother was in an accident that left him paralyzed. He soon realized the Cedar Valley didn’t have enough opportunities for people with physical disabilities.
Waller and four other Parkersburg leaders sought to change that by creating All-Play Ball Park. Their goal is to provide a sports facility for all children, no matter if they can walk, run, or wheel.
Seven years later, Diamonds and Fields’ vision is coming to fruition.
All-Play Ball Park will house the Cedar Valley’s first-ever Miracle League. The national organization gives kids ages 5-20 with physical or cognitive limitations the chance to play baseball. The format is similar to Little League.
“It’s a different feeling to see a Miracle League game being played, where everybody on the field, everybody in the stands, it’s just pure joy to even be there,” Waller said. “It’s a great perspective for everybody there.”
Starting on May 25, athletes will play four games in the Spring/Summer and four more in the Fall at the new Miracle League field.
“No matter what your ability or inability, however you want to look at it, baseball is something that you can play,” Waller said. “It’s America’s past time. We want everyone to be able to participate.”
Organizers told KWWL that about a dozen athletes have signed up to play, however, they’re looking to field two to three teams.