Rangers Pick Paralyzed Player
MLB draft 2011: Texas Rangers pick Johnathan Taylor of Georgia Bulldogs - ESPN Dallas
Not going to lie, when I read this story I was truly moved. Not to be Pollyana, but we all are used to sports being a business...blah blah blah. Meanwhile, every once in a while, a gesture like this comes along. Did they do it for publicity...maybe, but, just this once I would like to suspend my usual cynicism and hope that it was mostly to put a smile on the face of a kid who could use a pat on the back.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia baseball player Johnathan Taylor, who was partially paralyzed after breaking his neck during a collision in a game against Florida State on March 6, was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 33rd round of the amateur baseball draft on Wednesday.
Anyone who ever saw J.T. play knows that if he didn't have this tragic accident, he was going to play pro ball at some point.
-- Georgia coach David Perno
"He's a great kid and he's going through a terrible time in his life and we thought this would be something to uplift him," Kip Fagg, the Rangers' director of amateur scouting, told ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett. "I've seen the kid play since high school, he was a great player at Georgia."
Taylor, who is completing rehab at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta, is paralyzed from the waist down but showing signs of improvement. He was released to the rehab facility's day program last month.
"This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization," Georgia coach David Perno said in a statement released by the school. "J.T. is definitely a player worthy of getting drafted. He's been a big part of our program, and we are all very excited for him. When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted."