Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Poison Ivy Powers Little Leaguer

Damon Latti was partaking in a yard clean up day at his grandparents house when he developed a severe case of poison ivy. The "weeds" he thought he was weeding turned out to be the rash-giving ivy. "I just thought it was regular ivy. I've never liked poison ivy, never," said Latti, 12, of Upper Pillsgrove, PA.

The itching, scratching and swelling were so bad that it forced the Latti's to make a visit to the family doctor. "It was so bad that it made me rather uncomfortable," said Dr Miles Kinter.

Because of the severity of the rash Kinter put Damon on a steroid to help the healing process. Three shots of corticosteroid were injected into his upper arm.

Within two days the child had gained 20 pounds and his head size increased by a third. "We had to order a special batting helmet. The kind that's a lot bigger," said League vice president, Charles McGilicuddy.

In his first game on the "ivy-juice" Latti belted three homeruns totaling 750 feet. "I love poison ivy," said Latti, a shortstop.

By week's end the entire lineup of the Cougars had developed the ivy rash and were trading ivy leaves instead of baseball cards. Two other teams in the league had volunteered to clear the weeds under the bleachers.

The Upper Pillsgrove Little League has a strict steroid policy, but poison ivy is the lone loophole. "There's nothing we can do. They found a way around the rules. Koodos to them. I really respect that," said McGillicuddy.

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