Rising Team USA baseball star headed for Israel

Robert Scherl, who has combated Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, to be part of Team USA’s baseball team at 2013 Maccabiah.

By JERUSALEM POST SPORTS STAFF
May 21, 2013 23:36
3 minute read.
ROBERT SCHERL (center) poses with his parents at the final home game of his high school career.

Robert Scherl baseball player 370. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Robert Scherl, a graduating senior at The Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York, announced recently that he has committed to play baseball at The University of Chicago in Illinois, where he will be enrolling this Fall as an incoming freshman student.

UChicago athletic teams, including its baseball team, compete in the NCAA’s Division III.

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At the same time, Scherl also announced that he was named to the 16-man roster for Team USA which will be competing this summer in the Maccabiah Games in Israel.

Robert Scherl was born in New York City and raised in Chappaqua, New York, from 1995 through 2011.

He moved with his family to Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 2011.

In 1999, Scherl was diagnosed with acute advanced stage Legg Perthes Disease. When first examined, the local physician told Robert’s parents that he should focus his interests on music, art and computers because he would never play sports, as he would require immediate surgery and require leg braces for several years, both of which would leave him with a permanent limp and unable to participate in competitive sports.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is a childhood condition that affects the hip. It afflicts approximately 1 in 1200 children, predominately boys between the ages of four and eight.



The thighbone and pelvis meet in a ball-and-socket joint. Legg- Calve-Perthes occurs when blood supply is temporarily interrupted to the ball part of the joint. That part of the bone then breaks more easily and heals poorly, causing limps and other abnormalities.

Despite considerable research, the cause of the condition is not known.

At age five, Scherl started a regimen of physical therapy two times a week, and did so for three consecutive years. In 2002, Scherl underwent the first of four major surgeries on his effected hip, a six-hour dual osteotomy. He was supposed to be in a wheelchair for four to six weeks following the first hip surgery, but put his wheelchair and crutches aside after only six weeks in order to return to baseball.

In 2003, Scherl underwent hip surgery number two to remove the hardware from the 2002 surgery, remove a scar adhesion and to address a jagged bone growth.

Scherl’s third surgery was in 2007, during which a broken pin was removed from his hip.

In 2010, during his varsity football season at Hackley, Scherl underwent an unrelated arthroscopic surgery to repair torn meniscuses in both of his knees.

Finally, in 2012, Scherl underwent his fourth and final hip related surgery, a trochantic osteotomy, a reshaping the femoral head and acetabulum, and a laberal repair.

Despite the initial medical diagnosis in 1999, Scherl played competitive football, basketball and baseball throughout the years (playing both varsity baseball and football at the high school level).

He also enjoys many other recreational sports, including golf and tennis.

Scherl was one of two freshman who played on the JV baseball team at Horace Greeley High School in Chappaqua, NY (prior to transferring to Hackley).

Scherl was a three year varsity baseball player at Hackley. He finished his senior (2013) season with a batting average of .333 and an on base percentage of .407.

He played two Summers, 2011 and 2012, in the IMG Wood Bat League in Bradenton, Florida and was named to the prestigious “Coaches List” both seasons.

Scherl stated that “I am very honored to have been recruited to play baseball at one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

UChicago is a dream come true for any student athlete: an opportunity to receive a world class education at an amazing institution while playing the game that I love at a University with a storied history in college athletics. I feel truly blessed.”

Scherl continued by saying that “I am equally excited to be able to wear my country’s uniform this summer in Israel, as I compete for Team USA in the Maccabiah Games.

“I consider this opportunity both an exceptional honor and a unique experience. I am very grateful for both opportunities, and I am very appreciative of all those who have helped me realize these dreams, including my coaches, teachers, and, of course, my Parents!”

The Maccabiah Games – held every four years – are the world’s thirdlargest sporting event, behind the Summer Olympics and the World University Games. This year will mark the 19th edition of the Maccabiah, which will be held in Israel from July 17-30 with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 18.

For more information, please visit www.maccabiah.com

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