The Miracle League of the Northern Ohio Valley Panhandle removes the barriers that keep individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime. Since the main barriers for these individuals arise from the natural grass fields used in conventional leagues, Miracle League teams play on a custom-designed, rubberized turf field that accommodates wheelchairs and other assisted devices while helping to prevent injuries. The fields are completely flat to eliminate any barriers to wheelchair-bound or visually impaired players. The complexes also feature wheelchair-accessible dugouts, restrooms, concession stands and picnic pavilions.
As of 2014, 270 Miracle Leagues are located in 46 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and Mexico. In 1998, there were 35 players in the league. In 2002, more than 250 players participated. To date, the Miracle League has more than 200,000 players with disabilities. This sports phenomenon is quickly growing in numbers and popularity.
The league has been televised on NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC and Fox Sports. In 2002, the Miracle League received the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award, which is presented annually to a person or persons who have demonstrated leadership and volunteerism while making significant contributions in promoting peace and understanding and improving communication and cooperation between diverse populations. In 2006, the league was inducted into The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.