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A battle to return to the base path | Wallingford teen stays in the game

Alena’s first love of softball was put on hold when doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital revealed she had a brain tumor.

WALLINGFORD, Conn. — The past year has been a tumultuous one for 17-year old Alena D’Antonio. 

An avid softball player in a Wallingford girls rec league, Alena’s first love of the game was put on hold when doctors at Yale-New Haven Hospital revealed she had a brain tumor in June of 2021. 

For the past year, Alena, a rising senior at Lyman Hall High School, has been battling back to return to the base paths. “I was pushing myself as hard as I could because Softball is one of the things I go to,” said Alena.

Alena went from Yale-New Haven Hospital to Gaylord Hospital, where her physical rehabilitation began. Coincidentally, Gaylord Hospital is just across the street from Alena’s home softball field – giving her more incentive to get out there again. 

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“Alena came to me and the first thing we asked her is what is your goal and she said I want to play Softball again," said Occupational Therapist Megan Palmer.

Alena’s father, Dom, doubles as her Softball coach. “Whatever she was asked to do by Yale and at Gaylord, she did without a with a smile on her face,” said her father.

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Hard work and determination have brought Alena back to the softball field, and she has another milestone to celebrate; Alena helped to lead a team at the Gaylord Gauntlet – a “tough mudder” race that includes athletes who have battled back from physical challenges. 

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“She obviously has the drive and grit and motivation to get her life back and it’s astonishing and humbling,” said Palmer. 

After taking some infield practice at first base Alena sent a message to anyone forced to fight an ailment, “You can have lots of strength and with your strength you’ll be able to get through it.”

Jimmy Altman is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at jaltman@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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