Miami Marlins

Principal who lost legs in crash returns to baseball diamond

Principal who lost legs in crash returns to baseball diamond

Javier Perez, South Dade High School principal, throws the ceremonial first pitch during a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park in Little Havana on Fri., Sept. 23, 2016.
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Javier Perez, South Dade High School principal, throws the ceremonial first pitch during a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park in Little Havana on Fri., Sept. 23, 2016.

Javier Perez nearly lost his life the last time he stood on a baseball field.

On Friday, the principal at South Dade High School returned to the diamond — Marlins Park — to throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Miami faced the Braves.

“My accident happened the last time I was out out on a baseball field, watching my son play Little League,” Perez said. “So we felt it was fitting that my first outing would be at a baseball stadium.”

Perez was watching his 5-year-old son’s game at Tamiami Park in April when he was run over by a drunk driver. Both legs were amputated and he spent more than 100 days in the hospital.

“It’s been an emotional roller coaster,” he said.

Hundreds of students from South Dade High gave him a standing ovation Thursday when Perez threw out the first pitch while seated in a wheelchair.

“Hopefully, in a few months, I’ll be wearing prosthetics and walking,” he said. “The next time you see me throw a first pitch, it’ll be walking."

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