The Baltimore Orioles' August 17 game against the Oakland A’s was won minutes before either team even took the field. The victor: five-year-old Hailey Dawson, who threw out the first pitch using a robotic hand, 3D printed for her by students at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Hailey was born with a condition called Poland Syndrome, resulting in an underdeveloped right hand. Looking for a solution to expensive traditional prosthetics—which the pint-size baseball enthusiast would rapidly outgrow—her mother sought help from experts at the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ school of engineering.
The resulting prosthetic hand gives Hailey the chance to participate in activities she was unable to before, including baseball.
“[The 3D-printed hand] is operated by wrist movement,” her mother, Yong, tells MASN Sports. “When Hailey’s wrist goes to a down motion, the fingers will grasp and when it goes in the up motion, the fingers release.” Because the files to create the hand are available online for free, 3D-printed versions can be produced for as low as $20. (Standard prosthetics, meanwhile, can cost tens of thousands of dollars.)
Accompanied by her big brother Zach, Hailey—sporting her orange, Orioles-themed prosthetic—tossed out a successful first pitch to her favorite player, Manny Machado.
Check out the video of Haley’s throw below. For the latest on what future baseball star Hailey is up to, visit her Instagram.