HBCU sports

Despite 21 surgeries, Darien Brown is playing baseball for Tuskegee University

Pitcher was born with congenital joint problems but still fulfilled his dream

Growing up on the east side of Atlanta, Darien Brown had athletic dreams just like the other kids. But Brown — everybody calls him “DJ” — had obstacles that made those aspirations seem virtually unthinkable.

Diagnosed at birth with arthrogryposis, a congenital condition where joints don’t move normally or may even be stuck in one position, DJ never let his medical condition deter his love for sports and life. Having had 21 surgeries to date – yes, 21 – for an array of conditions, including a dislocated hip and clenched fist syndrome, Brown’s dreams of playing in front of a crowd were realized when coaches at Tuskegee University gave him a shot to walk onto its baseball team as a pitcher.

Not bad for a kid who has had knee rotation surgery and was unable to hear at birth.

“I don’t see myself as being different from others,” said Brown, a freshman aerospace engineering major who aspires to play professional baseball. “I believe I can do any and everything everyone else can.”

Aliyah Smith, a senior broadcast journalism major at Auburn University and correspondent for ESPNU’s Campus Connection, tells the story of this inspiring young man.

Liner Notes

This is an Undefeated and ESPNU Campus Connection collaboration.