Unique baseball league for teens and adults with disabilities launches in northwest suburbs

Recruitment is underway for a first of its kind baseball league in the northwest suburbs. It’s proving to be a hit with a very special group of athletes.

"It’s exhilarating," said Brian Martin, a baseball player from Northbrook. He is one of several adults on the new Chicago Alternative Baseball team. It’s for teens and adults, ages 15 and older, who have an intellectual or other disability.

"It's really giving parents and families and players over the age of 15, this chance to be swept back into a competitive nature, because it's something they're really missing out on when they reach a certain age," said Coach Jackson Berner.

Berner is a varsity baseball player in Winnetka. Chicago’s Alternative Baseball team is just one of three in the area. Other teams are located in Rockford and Central Illinois.


"There's a gap in a lot of sports where the kids have the desire to play, they might have even been pulled through younger leagues where they were allowed to play with neuro-typical kids and then they kind of fall off," said Amy Fox.

Her son Emmitt also plays on the team.

"I'm really excited to start new friendships with these guys," Emmitt said.

The league was founded by an Atlanta man who has autism and has grown to 22 teams nationally. It’s a league of their own, building confidence and making dreams come true.

Chicago’s Alternative Baseball team is accepting male and female players from all over the Chicagoland area. Practices and games are held once a week.

For more information, visit www.alternativebaseball.org.