- Associated Press - Sunday, May 18, 2014

BINGER, Okla. (AP) - DeKota Green handed his prosthetic back to his mom Jennifer four years ago full of frustration.

He was nearing the point of no return.

“I’d tell her I’m done and go put it up and want to stick to crutches,” Green told The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1mMTh6k).

There was the constant pain in his left leg after eight surgeries, which included removing the lower portion. There was the mental agony he felt.

Green, however, found his way away from the abyss, and all it took was a hunting trip.

“When I went on that hunt, I didn’t really want anyone to help me because I had to climb into stands and things,” Green said. “I like to be able to do anything. I like to be able to get out and do everything that everybody else can.”

He hasn’t slowed down since.

Green, now a senior at Binger-Oney, is the starting first baseman and also pitches for the Bobcats team, completing a grueling journey that serves as inspiration each game he plays with the prosthesis for the small town full of baseball history.

“He’s an inspiration to me and I’ve been around a long time and I’ve played a lot of baseball,” said Binger-Oney coach Reggie Willits, a former outfielder for Oklahoma and the Los Angeles Angels. “What he shows them kids is there’s no excuse. A lot of kids think the second they feel anything, they can’t play. (What) they don’t understand is you see those guys on TV, they never feel good. They play hurt every day.

“DeKota pushes them kids because they don’t have an excuse. Nobody says that, but by him being there you don’t have to say it.”

During the fall state championship game, Green played with his prosthesis on the verge of breaking. He was missing a piece that held it together, but he somehow survived the game and helped the Bobcats win their first title in more than 20 years.

Green even pitched a game last season with a broken finger on his pitching hand.

“The ones that draw the headlines are the ones that end up drafted in the first round and the ones that go to OU and OSU and LSU, go to places like that, but that’s not what high school sports is about,” Willits said. “I think the epitome of high school sports should be what he is, and that’s somebody that has maximized his ability to what it was.”

The path to his senior season was filled with rough patches.

Green suffered the accident in August 2010. He was riding on the back of an ATV with a friend when they were struck by a truck speeding at the bottom of a hill.

“That was probably the worst day of our life,” said DeKota’s mom, Jennifer. “DeKota was a good athlete before all of this happened and we knew he had the potential to go somewhere and play some ball.

“When this happened, it was devastating to us because we didn’t think we’d ever see him play again. All we could do was encourage him to at least try.”

Green lost the back part of his leg and was ultimately in the hospital for a month, not returning to school until December.

That fateful hunting trip, though, was enough to encourage him to return to baseball.

He played sparingly that year as a freshman, playing for the junior high team and even appearing in varsity a few times.

By his junior year - the first year under Willits - he was comfortable with his footwork and starting.

“Actually, that summer that’s when I started realizing I can run and everything just fine like I normally would,” Green said. “For quite a while, actually, it was really tough to adjust to the feeling. Actually, the pain issues were really strong at first. For that first year all the way through it was still really painful, but just coming along the next few years everything is starting to feel natural again.”

Willits had a hand in that, too, with his no-nonsense approach to the game.

Green said he respects that Willits doesn’t treat him differently than his teammates.

“I just tried to treat him like everybody,” Willits said. “I didn’t want to come in and him to feel like he was some kind of a charity case or somebody that needed special treatment, because he didn’t. He was tough.”

Green even played basketball last season, finding it easier to run on a basketball court than a baseball field.

Now, there are certainly no regrets for the Bobcats’ quiet leader. He will walk away from baseball and attend college - possibly at Southwestern Oklahoma State.

“We’ve been very fortunate to still have him with us and to see him do these things,” Jennifer Green said. “I’m curious of what life will bring him.”


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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