Recovery from a traumatic event is never easy. But when a goal is on the horizon, there is a little more motivation in that battle to get better. For 11-year-old Alex Illes, who was hit by a car just two years ago, his goal was to play again on the Little League® fields at Parkland (Fla.) Little League.
On July 20, 2013, Alex and his older sister, Mya, were walking from an ice cream truck when a young driver swerved around the truck and struck Alex.
Alex suffered a broken pelvis and a severe brain injury. The first few days of his hospital stay, he was stabilized, but in a coma.
After two weeks, he was able to breathe on his own. And after intense rehab, Alex began to walk again, though his left leg needed a brace. As a result of the head trauma Alex needed to learn to speak again, as well. On Oct. 11, 2013, 83 days after the accident, Alex returned home. The next four months were difficult, but he eventually was able to walk on his own and regain the ability to talk. He returned to school on Feb. 17, 2014. And baseball was on his mind.
After missing the 2014 Little League season, Alex returned to Parkland Little League in 2015, playing with his friends and teammates, which has earned him recognition as the winner of Little League Good Sport Award for 2015.
“The past two years, Alex has defied the odds time and time again,” said Stephen D. Keener, Little League President and CEO. “His commitment to get better and get back on the Little League field has been extraordinary. We are happy to recognize his dedication, teamwork, and sportsmanship with the 2015 Little League Good Sport Award.”
When Alex was in Tee Ball, his coach nicknamed him “Smiley” because of his consistent smile. When a teammate is struggling, he is the first one to offer encouragement.
“He’s just such a happy kid. He is the most giving kid in the whole world,” said Jaime Illes, Alex’s mother.
Since 1989, The Good Sport Award recognizes a Little Leaguer® who has demonstrated superior qualities of sportsmanship, leadership, a commitment to teamwork and a desire to excel. When told of the honor, Alex was bewildered by the news, exclaiming: “They picked me?”
“He didn’t understand what (the award) was, and we had to go over it a few times,” said Ms. Illes. “It’s such a blessing for Alex to be honored this way. We really appreciate this.”
Alex will be recognized at a breakfast and during an on-field ceremony at the 2015 Little League Baseball® World Series.
Over the course of 10 days, 32 games will be played in the 69th Little League Baseball World Series, concluding with the Little League Baseball World Series Championship Game, which is scheduled for 3 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 30. For more information on the 2015 Little League Baseball World Series, visit LLBWS.org.