Decked out in her Orioles gear, Monday night's ceremonial first-pitch thrower looked like any other — albeit shorter — baseball fan.
But there was something extra-special about 5-year-old Hailey Dawson. She threw out the pitch using a brand-new 3-D-printed prosthetic hand created by engineering students at the University of Nevada in her hometown of Las Vegas.
Hailey was born with Poland syndrome, a rare condition that prevents proper development of her right arm and constricts the fingers on her hand, preventing her from gripping things normally.
Two years ago, Hailey's mother told SB Nation, she contacted the medical engineering department at UNLV to try to convince chairman Brendan O'Toole to have students take on the project of building a hand for her daughter.
O'Toole liked the idea and assembled a team of university and high school students. After working through a series of different models and testing them on Hailey, the fourth version was presented to her last Friday.
A photo posted by Hailey Dawson (@haileys_hand) on
How did the Las Vegas family end up in Baltimore with Hailey tossing out the first pitch? Her dad is from the area and raised his children to be Orioles fans; a meet and greet request from Hailey's mom resulted in an invitation to the park and for Hailey to throw out the first pitch with her new prosthetic.
Hailey even has a favorite player, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who signed her new hand and caught her pitch.
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