Owensboro native Jason Koger, a bilateral upper amputee who is now a national motivational speaker, is playing in the Celebrity Softball Classic on Saturday in Arlington, Texas. The Classic benefits Folds of Honor and Vets for Child Rescue.
“I always like doing charity events no matter what it is,” Koger said. “It’s a neat opportunity to share my story.”
Koger has been using his story to inspire others and share the message of resilience following tragedy. He said he is honored to be asked to play for this cause.
“I might not get to play a whole lot,” he said. “I just want to show them my accident hasn’t stopped me. I wasn’t asked because I’m some huge celebrity. The man who asked me to play said I inspired him and he wants me to inspire others.”
According to the event website, the family friendly event features coed teams with players who are professional athletes, musicians, and actors from film/television or reality shows.
The first game of the day will be a celebrity veteran coed game made up of “America’s finest veteran influencers who have had amazing military careers.” The second game of the day will consist of a coed celebrity softball game.”
Koger’s teammates include NFL players from the Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears, as well as several TV personalities and a Boston Marathon bombing survivor.
“All the celebrities that are going to be here are really cool; one of the event coordinators told me that there isn’t a celebrity that plays in this game that thinks they are too good or stuck up,” Koger said. “They’ll take pictures with you or sign autographs. We are all here for the same reason.”
When a prosthetic company offered to make him special attachments for the game, Koger was very grateful.
“I had a company called Fillauer Prosthetics reach out to me and make a special glove for the game. I also have a special attachment from them so I can hold a baseball bat,” Koger said.
Koger, who hasn’t played softball since his accident, said he finally gave it a try last week.
“My son Axel and I went out in the yard — he threw and I hit,” Koger said. “I had my girls video me. This was the very first time I put on the softball arm attachments. It’s not about winning or losing to me; this is going to a good cause.”
When asked what position he wanted to play, Koger joked that he would go wherever the ball doesn’t go very often.
“I told them to put me in right field,” Koger said.
Ultimately, the Celebrity Softball Classic organization is glad the event is able to take place this year. Koger was supposed to play last year, but the games were cancelled due to COVID-19.
“It’s neat to be a part of something I’ve never been a part of before,” he said. “It’s rare to find a bilateral arm amputee but we can still do a lot of cool stuff.”