Adaptive athlete born without arms throws first pitch at Twins game

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A young athlete from St. Paul, Minnesota has already overcome an incredible number of obstacles. Friday night she earned another honor by throwing out the first pitch at the Minnesota Twins game, even though she was born with no arms.

Spend any time with Ana Younker-Zimmerman and it’s easy to see she's a very special young woman.

"I never threw a first pitch at any baseball game before," she said.

Because she was born without arms, Younker-Zimmerman does everything with her feet - like drawing and writing - that everyone else does with their hands. She keeps a positive attitude about it, even though fitting in can be difficult with a disability.

"For me, it was kind of hard because kids were making fun of me and I kind of made fun of them back,” she said. “It’s hard when you are different from other people."

Younker-Zimmerman turned to adaptive sports like softball, floor hockey, soccer and even bowling at Humboldt High School where she graduated last year. She became the first person with a disability to win an Athena Award for being an outstanding female senior high school student-athlete. 

"It was a huge turn around in the mood and feeling equal,” said Kelly Younker, Ana’s mom. “She made good friends. They adapted things to make sure she wasn't left out of anything."

When Younker-Zimmerman was selected to throw out the first pitch for the Twins' game against the Baltimore Orioles, she made the most of her special moment.

"Nerve-wracking, but at the same time, it’s cool to be on the field,” she said.

She joked she wants to become a professional baseball player now, but she really wants to go to college to become a therapist to help other young people with disabilities.