BROWNWOOD, TEX. -- Shane Wood, 13, was born without hands, but he always wanted to play baseball.
He learned to hit a baseball by holding the bat with the stumps of both arms. Now, for the first time, the teen-ager also can catch one, with the help of a lacrosse-style glove.
News stories about his love for baseball and frustration about being able to hit the ball but not catch it attracted the interest of a saddlemaker, Jake Harrison, who felt that he could design a glove that would work.
"I decided to make Shane a special glove so he could play the game he so loved," Harrison said. "It wasn't done overnight. I tried three different types of gloves before I came up with what I wanted."
Harrison is familiar with the game of lacrosse, which is played with a racket resembling a basket attached to the end of a stick. Lacrosse players catch a ball and throw it from the basket without touching the ball with their hands or fingers.
"In effect, the glove I made for Shane will do exactly the same thing," Harrison told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
It took him about three months to design the right pattern, but once he found what he thought would work, it took only eight hours to complete.
The model is made with 10-ounce oil tan leather lined with sheepskin. A bicycle chain on the back serves as a support, much like a spine. The fitting on the end of Shane's arm is lined with sheepskin fleece because wool absorbs perspiration and can be removed and washed.
"If the glove works with Shane, I am thinking of creating more of this type glove to fit other handicapped children, as well as trying to come up with other special sporting goods such as an apparatus that will make it easier for handicapped children to use a bat," Harrison said.
"I believe we should try and eliminate limitations imposed by any handicap," he added.