Thursday, April 19, 2007

Utah Hero of the Week - Amber Martin

Amber plays catcher for the Springville Red Devils girls softball team. She loves playing and hopes to be able to play for a local college after she graduates. She has the Red Devil's highest batting average at .450 and is second on the time in RBIs (runs batted in). Amber also works 20 hours a week at a local department store in addition to maintaining an average.

All of this could be enough to qualify Amber as a hero. But she is unique. She does all these things with a congenital defect in both her feet called Tarsal Coalition, which means that two of the bones in her heels are abnormally fused together. It causes her extreme pain, making her case rare. There are times she has to crawl up the stairs to her job she is in so much pain. In addition to her already busy schedule, she has to work in time for physical therapy. She will eventually need surgery to fuse the bones together correctly.

Her doctors advise her to consider her future carefully, as she will likely need to plan activities that will allow her to sit throughout the day.

Amber's coach, Karl Johnson said in the Deseret News, "Last summer she was playing in a game and was in tears she was in such incredible pain, but she didn't want to come out," he recalled, saying that she's one girl he practically has to drag off the diamond when practice is over, despite her obvious misery. "She is not to be denied her senior year. She wants to take harge. She's made herself strong," he said. He noted that Martin has a huge heart and desire to play the game, and that she's a great student of the game. She calls all of the team's pitches and is a huge team leader."

Thanks, Amber, for showing us how to persevere and for teaching us that we all need to find something that we absolutely love to help us get through tough times.

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