Make us your home page
Instagram

Triple-amputee veteran throws first pitch at Rays' game

His friends were tying tourniquets on what remained of his arms and legs when Sgt. Michael Nicholson came to.

Nicholson, 22, was serving in Afghanistan in July 2011 when he stepped on a hidden explosive that took his left arm and both of his legs.

He was medically discharged from the Marines this month. After more than 30 surgeries and rehabilitation at a naval hospital in Bethesda, Md., he moved back to his parents' Tampa home in March.

A lifelong Rays fan, Nicholson handled some special duties Monday night as the Rays took on the Yankees. Fitted with prosthetics, he threw out a first pitch.

Nicholson practiced his pitching technique Monday morning in preparation for the game. "I haven't lost my throwing arm so that's good," Nicholson said. "I'm looking to throw a solid pitch down the plate."

He had some company on the mound, too. Newly signed Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis threw out the "first" first pitch. Nicholson threw the second, accompanied by George Siller, vice chair of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

Created in the name of Siller's brother, a fallen 9/11 firefighter, the Tunnel to Towers Foundation builds homes adapted for seriously wounded U.S. veterans. The foundation is partnering with the Gary Sinise Foundation to build Nicholson a Smart Home in South Tampa. The home will include features to accommodate Nicholson, such as wide doorways and counters that move at the push of a button.

A groundbreaking ceremony on May 9 will kick off the construction of Nicholson's Smart Home. The project should be completed by October, Siller said.

Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band will play a benefit concert May 10 in efforts to raise money for the project.

"The support from local areas is what makes the difference," Siller said.

After a morning of pitching practice with Nicholson, Siller was confident in the Marine's pitching skills.

"He's got a good arm," Siller said. "If he was able to go out into the field and face combat, then he'll be able to throw a first pitch."

To buy tickets for the benefit concert or to donate, visit supportmikenicholson.com.

Jessica Floum can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8340

Triple-amputee veteran throws first pitch at Rays' game 04/22/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 23, 2013 8:09am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Only the Brave' honors sacrifice of front line firefighters amid California wildfires

    Movies

    No one knew that the release date for the forest firefighting movie Only the Brave' would coincide with one of the most destructive wildfires in California history.

    Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller), Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch), plan to do the backburn at the Chiricahua Mtn. fireline in  ONLY THE BRAVE. (Columbia Pictures)
  2. 'The Snowman' has a star-studded cast based on a blockbuster murder novel, but it's a mess

    Movies

    Mr. Alfredson, you could have saved it. We gave you all the tools — a star-studded cast, a blockbuster best-selling Scandinavian murder novel by Jo Nesbo, and three time Oscar winning editor Thelma Schoonmaker. So why is The Snowman such a jumbled nonsensical mess?

    Michael Fassbender in "The Snowman." (Universal Pictures)  1213107
  3. Find every new Shine festival mural in St. Petersburg with this map and photos

    Visual Arts

    The leaves don't really change in Florida, but go outside and it's clearly that time of year when St. Petersburg's walls get a little more colorful.

    There are 14 new murals up in St. Petersburg for the Shine Mural Festival. [Eve Edelheit | Staff]
  4. Bar review: The 1895 Kitchen-Bar-Market in Tampa

    Bars & Spirits

    The new bar that Urban Juice Co. has transitioned into — 1895 Kitchen-Bar-Market in downtown Tampa — feels good in the "Southern comfort bar and kitchen" role in which it's cleverly marketed.

    The 1895 Kitchen-Bar-Market is in the old Franklin building in downtown Tampa.
  5. Local craft beer of the week: Malt liquor? Yes — 3 Daughters Brewing's Ctrl + Malt + Del

    Bars & Spirits

    In 2004, Delaware's Dogfish Head Brewery was well into the process of making a name for itself through envelope-pushing beers, like 120-Minute IPA and World Wide Stout, brews notorious for their astronomical alcohol content.

    Photo by Justin Grant