Meet Donnie Edison.

At the age of 36, he suffered a stroke that destroyed the right half of his brain. Now, the southern California resident says he’s “thankful” it happened.

Image source: CBS Evening News

Image source: CBS Evening News

After suffering the stroke, Edison told the CBS Evening News he found little reason to step off the couch.

That’s when he heard the ping of a metal bat striking a baseball.

“That saved my life,” Edison said.

Image source: CBS Evening News

Image source: CBS Evening News

Immediately after hearing the sound, he asked his wife Natalia to take him to the batting practice.

“That became everything. … Just going to batting practice,” he told the CBS Evening News.

The team began to take notice.

“At first it was kind of weird, I was like, who is this guy?” one player said.

“But then we got used to him there,” said another.

The coach ultimately asked Edison to be his assistant. According to the CBS Evening News, this gave him a purpose unlike any he had ever experienced in his life.

Image source: CBS Evening News

Image source: CBS Evening News

Before, the 36-year-old was simply a bartender, with little direction in life. Coaching a team full of kids changed that.

Edison learned to walk again while enrolling in college to become a special-ed teacher. He now volunteers at Arlington High School with special-ed kids — and has even introduced them to whiffle ball.

“There’s nothing like seeing these kids just run and smile and having fun.”
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“There’s nothing like seeing these kids just run and smile and having fun,” he said.

His life has undergone such a dramatic transformation, Edison says he’s now thankful he had the stroke.

“(I’m) thankful that this happened, because if this didn’t happen, then I would just be doing the same daily grind that I was, you know, just going to work every day to pay my mortgage, you know,” he said.

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