When Florida Marlin Jim Eisenreich hit a
homerun in the 1997 World Series, few
watching would remember that Tourette
Syndrome had almost taken away his dream
to play baseball. But it didn't.
Jim had a normal childhood and a loving family
but at age 6 he began to exhibit some strange
symptoms. He had tics and jerks, and couldn't
quit blinking his eyes. His family accepted this
behavior. But at school, where the social
pressures can be enormous, he struggled.
The doctor in his hometown of St. Cloud,
Minnesota didn't understand and the teachers
assumed that he could stop the strange
behavior anytime he wished. Other children
teased Jim. Even a junior high school coach
made fun of him when he heard Jim clearing
his throat uncontrollably. The reaction of
outsiders made Jim feel that he must be crazy.
He spent a lot of time alone, the only safe
place for a child who feels different.
What Jim's Doing:
Jim started the Jim Eisenreich
Foundation for Children With Tourette
Syndrome to help children who have
been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome
and their families find answers to their
initial questions and links to resources to
help them learn to cope with Tourette.
Jim's outreach includes stadium visits,
classroom presentations and
discussions and one-on-one assistance
to children and families affected by TS.
In 2011, Jim attended the Philly's Fantasy
Camp in January, Royals Fantasy Camp
in February, a bowling fundraiser for the
Joshua Center and is planning school
visits to discuss issues in connection with
bullying in public schools.