After 23 surgeries, baseball player inspires many

- 12-year-old Andrew Clemons can just about knock the cover off of a baseball.

"I want to go pro, hopefully," said the young slugger.

Clemons plays for the East Cobb Pride, part of a very competitive travel baseball league in the area. He says the best part of the game is being around his teammates and winning, of course, is fun. Just getting the chance to play, however, is impressive in itself.

"[I] had a kidney transplant," said Clemons. "I don't have any stomach muscles at all. 23 surgeries, something like that. Hm. Think that's it."

Clemons was born with Eagle-Barrett Syndrome, a condition that causes infants to be born without stomach muscles. It's also called Prune Belly Syndrome for the way those with the condition's stomachs look. The National Institutes of Health says many infants with Eagle-Barrett are stillborn or die within a few weeks; those who survive often have other health problems. Andrew also has cycstic fibrosis.

"I was pregnant, they told me termindate the pregnancy, he's not going to make it," said Andrew's mother Jenni Clemons.

Andrew made it and is thriving. He just passed the seven-year anniversary of his kidney transplant. When he shows his teammates his stomach and the scars he has, they're impressed. His coaches are inspired.

"I think if anyone would doubt that kid," said Victor Moreno, one of East Cobb Pride's coaches. "I'm probably one of his biggest critics, and he shows us every day he can."

Andrew, however, shrugs it off. What he's doing isn't exceptional: it's what every other kid does.

"My life is normal," said Clemons. "To me, it's normal. [To] everyone else, it's not."

Clemons' first kidney transplant came from his grandmother. His mother estimates he'll need another transplant in about 7 years; she wants to be the one to donate.

"His reality right now is he's going all the way," said Jenni Clemons. "Who are we to stop him? I don't know what he's capable of. He's already proved everybody wrong right from the beginning."

April is National Donate Life Month, celebrating organ and tissue donors.

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