Players slide into bases every single day during the season, and aside from the occasional rolled ankle or jammed finger, they almost always get up and walk away unharmed. In February 2011, Arizona State outfielder Cory Hahn did not walk away.
Hahn, who was a week into his freshman season after being named Mr. Baseball in California as a high school senior, collided with New Mexico second baseman Kyle Stiner's knee on a slide at second. He was carried off the field in a stretcher, having suffered a spinal injury. Hahn is paralyzed from the chest down.
On Saturday, the Diamondbacks honored Hahn by selecting him in the 34th round of the draft. He wore jersey No. 34 for the Sun Devils.
"It was a very emotional selection for us to make," Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said to the Associated Press on Saturday. "When [scouting director] Ray Montgomery and his staff came up with the idea and presented it to me, it was a no-brainer.
"It's not about us. It's really about Cory and his family," Hall added. "I was able to spend time with them right after the injury in his hospital room and he's a wonderful kid. We want to make this permanent. We don't want this to just be about the selection and him being a draft pick, but about him working in full-time employment with the Diamondbacks and hopefully we'll make that come to fruition for he and his family here soon."
Hahn, who is now 21, has spent the last two years helping Arizona State's baseball program as a student coach. He has regained some use of his hands, and he also does a ton of charity and fundraising work. He's also very active on Twitter, for example:
I cannot thank the @dbacks enough for what they have done! So humbled and will be forever grateful! So honored to be a diamondback!— Coryhahn34 (@Coryhahn34) June 9, 2013
Congrats go out Hahn and the Diamondbacks. He's an inspiration and they're a class organization. Bravo.