George Springer inspires young fans coping with stutters

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Parker Wright,13, is a huge fan of Astros outfielder George Springer. He even stayed up late on a school night to cheer him on.

"Last night was absolutely amazing," Wright said after the Astros won Game 2.

Springer's bat finally woke up after a dry spell in the post-season.

"When the lights turn on even brighter, you tend to subconsciously press and you want to succeed so bad that you start to do things you wouldn't normally do," explained Springer.

For Springer, it took taking a step back before stepping up to the plate.

"For me to experience and to understand, 'Hey slow yourself down.' I understand why some people struggle in the post-season and some don't," he adds.

Postseason jitters aren't' the first time Springer overcame a challenge, which is why Wright is such a fan.

"He's a person that stutters just like me," says Wright.

"I have had the stutter since I was born, I guess. I don't know if it started when I was a kid or what. I don't think I'm going to outgrow it," explains Springer.

These days, it's hard to detect Springer's stutter. Kathy Swiney, a board-certified specialist in fluency disorders, says reducing a stutter takes a lot of work.

"To make a change is speech is tremendously difficult. You have vocabulary, sentence structure, you have just the right timing, like in jokes and stories," says Swiney.

Springer is now a spokesperson for SAY - the Stuttering Association for the Young - where he encourages kids like Wright.

"He's very friendly and approachable. He's a cheerleader for these kids. 'Look, guys, you can do it. You can be like me,'" explains Swiney.

Because of his determination to overcome his stutter and succeed at baseball, young players like Wright see a home run in their futures.

"He's a really huge role model for me," says Wright.

SAY holds a big gala in Houston that Springer is a part of as well as a camp for kids who stutter, and Wright goes to both every year.

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