Scalise returns to field on anniversary of baseball shooting

Scalise returns to field on anniversary of baseball shooting
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseHouse GOP reverses, cancels vote on Dem bill to abolish ICE Overnight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process Koch backs House measure opposing carbon taxes MORE (R-La.) returned to the baseball diamond on Thursday, a year after he suffered a near-fatal gunshot wound at a Republican baseball practice.

The No. 3 House Republican's appearance at the annual congressional charity baseball game marked a sort of homecoming for Scalise, who was among four people shot at an Alexandria, Va., park last summer in an attack that authorities said was "fueled by rage against Republican legislators." 

The others wounded in the shooting were U.S. Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, lobbyist Matt Mika and congressional aide Zack Barth.

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But Scalise's wounds – a shattered hip, pelvis and left femur, and severe damage to his internal organs – were some of the most severe. Since then, the Louisiana Republican has undergone nine different surgeries and months of physical therapy. 

Now, he's back on the field.

"It's been a tumultuous ride, the last year," Scalise told Fox News in an interview on Tuesday. "Being able to walk out onto that field again Thursday night with my uniform is going to be a special, special moment."

Scalise acknowledged that his movements are still "limited." After leaving the hospital, Scalise was bound to a scooter – a "geaux-kart" as he put it – before moving on to a pair of crutches and then to just a single crutch. 

"I practice fielding. I can actually field a ball if it comes right to me," Scalise told Fox News. "So maybe we need to get more practice with the batters to hit it directly to me. But I can still make the throw to first."

"I hope they don't need to use me a lot, but it's just going to be a great moment to be able to get out there in uniform after the last year that we've been through."

Scalise has received an outpouring of support throughout his recovery. When he returned to Congress in September, for example, he was greeted with a roaring round of applause from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Before he took to the field at Nationals Park on Thursday, Scalise also received well wishes from Vice President Pence, who celebrated Scalise's return to the baseball game.

"A beautiful night for the #CongressionalBaseballGame – a bipartisan event for a worthy cause. GREAT to see my friend @SteveScalise back in uniform!" Pence tweeted.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also said Thursday about the game that "those injured have fought hard for this moment and we will proudly be cheering them on."

She also joked that she's heard "the Republican team looks pretty good in practice and they are headed for victory."