Arlington Little League Recognizes Dr. Scalzitti for Years of Service

Authored by
Dr. Scalzitti and Washington National's Mascot, Screech

In the classroom, he is Dr. Scalzitti; but on the field, he’s known as Coach David. For the past 12 years, David Scalzitti, PhD, PT, has been helping young athletes with disabilities take to the field with Challengers Baseball. Scalzitti recently hit a home run of his own, as he was inducted into the Arlington Little League Hall of Fame in recognition of his years of service to Challengers Baseball. 

Challengers, a division of the Arlington Little League, is an adaptive-baseball program for children ages 4–22 years old with mental or physical disabilities. Athletes are paired with buddies who help the players bat, run the bases, and play the field. Buddies can be other Little Leaguers or volunteers, like Scalzitti, who help facilitate the weekly, hour-long games throughout the spring and fall seasons. 

Scalzitti first learned of the league when a George Washington University (GW) School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) student made an announcement during his class to recruit fellow classmates to volunteer. As an avid baseball fan and a health care professional, the program immediately piqued Scalzitti’s interest. He has been volunteering ever since and his dedication has been unwavering, even going to a game directly following the GW graduation ceremony. 

Reflecting on his initial experiences with Challengers, Scalzitti said “I knew some things about baseball, and I knew some things about health conditions, but none of those skills were the reason I was there.” Scalzitti realized he was at Challengers to be a positive influence on players; let parents relax and watch the games; be a cheerleader; but most importantly, let the kids have fun. 

Scalzitti was formally inducted into the Hall of Fame during the Arlington Little League’s opening-day ceremony in April 2022, the first induction ceremony since the pandemic. Scalzitti threw a ceremonial first pitch to celebrate the accomplishment. The Challengers chose to use Chicago White Sox jerseys for their 2022 season in honor of Dr. Scalzitti’s favorite team. 

While his passion and commitment to Challengers is apparent, Scalzitti equally enjoys seeing DPT students volunteering with Challengers every year. Second-year DTP student Samantha Mattern enjoyed spending some of her Sunday afternoons on the diamond, volunteering with Scalzitti. “We dance, laugh, smile, and play some great baseball. It’s often one of the highlights of my week,” Mattern said. “The players, coaches, parents, and volunteers create such a joyful, encouraging experience. You can tell Dr. Scalzitti is an integral part of the community, and I’m grateful he connected me.”

Scalzitti reflects: “I really enjoy being able to interact with families and kids in the community setting as opposed to a health care setting. I get to learn, develop friendships, and grow a sense of community. I get back as much as I give to Challengers, if not more.”