Iconic athlete Bo Jackson appeared in a new public service ad – produced jointly by Major League Baseball and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) – which encourages people to consider those with disabilities for employment.
The 30-second public-service announcement, part of PBATS’ Ability Transcends Challenges (ATC) program, was introduced by Mr. Jackson during an exclusive interview on MLB Network’s MLB Central on Thursday, July 21, at 11:15 a.m. ET. The PSA aired on MLB Network and has also been made available to regional sports networks and other stations throughout the nation.
The Ability Transcends Challenges program was designed by PBATS to help people understand the value of those with disabilities in our society and in the workplace. This is accomplished by using examples of athletes who have overcome obstacles to rise to the pinnacle of professional sports. Mr. Jackson is the third athlete to participate in the ATC program – joining former major leaguers Jim Abbott and Curtis Pride – by doing a PSA about his challenges as a former stutterer.
“I’m very excited to be part of the PBATS’ initiative that will assist people with disabilities,” said Jackson, the 1985 Heisman Trophy recipient and former MLB All-Star who is now an ambassador for the Chicago White Sox. “This program is working hard to inform and educate the public that people with disabilities should be considered for what they can do and not marginalized for what they can’t.”
The PBATS’ Ability Transcends Challenges program is funded by the Major League Baseball athletic trainers as their way of drawing attention to the national crisis of disability unemployment and poverty which is twice the rate of any other group in America.
“The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) is proud to have Bo Jackson as part of our “Ability Transcends Challenges” program,” said Mark O’Neal, PBATS president and Director of Medical Administration for the Chicago Cubs. “Arguably the greatest all-around athlete of the 20th century, Bo’s willingness to discuss his disability publically as an encouragement to others demonstrates what it really means to be a champion. Bo was an impact player on the field and he will make a huge impact on the lives of countless people with disabilities.”
PBATS has partnered on the ATC program with the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy, which helps distribute these special PSAs across the United States.