The family of a Little League baseball player whose story of blindness has captured national headlines says faith and a positive attitude helped their son overcome adversity to become a sports standout.
That player, 12-year-old Josiah Porter, hit a grand slam Thursday to propel his Nolensville, Tenn., Little League team to a 7-1 victory over Pearland, Texas, and advance to Saturday’s U.S. Championship game against Hawaii at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.
He is blind in his right eye.
It wasn’t the first time Porter has stood out. An outfielder and pitcher, he hit an impressive .300 through four Southeast Region Tournament games, according to LittleLeague.org.
Brandon Porter, Josiah’s father, told ESPN that the family’s Christian faith has been key to Porter’s success.
He has been blind in his right eye since an accident around his seventh birthday.
“We're a family of faith,” the father told ESPN during the live broadcast. “... God had a big thing to do with all of this. [We’ve been] keeping our focus on Jesus. … Like Peter walking on the water in the Bible. And being positive. That's been something for Josiah that ... [is] so critical [to] his story. We can't talk about this story without talking about his faith. Josiah stayed positive. Instead of focusing on the storm, the bad things – what he can't do – he focuses on what he can do. So it's just been a great story.”
The accident that blinded Josiah involved a sharp object on a truck's toolshed.
“Josiah walked right into it, and it cut his eyeball,” the father said. “He ended up having to have three stitches in his eyeball and he's had five surgeries since then. Two of those were retinal reattachment surgeries. It's just been a tough journey for him. … He was always a great little athlete. It was just a tough journey for him. But finally, when he started getting back to getting to play and jump and run – he just didn't let it bother him. He just overcame.”
Photo courtesy: ©Thomas Park/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.