Pro Tips: Playing Baseball With a Bleeding Disorder

Former pro pitcher and hemophilia patient Jesse Schrader on managing health.

Jesse Schrader, baseball pitcher with hemophilia at CSL Behring's Gettin' in the Game Junior National Championship
Jesse Schrader, left, at CSL Behring's Gettin' in the Game Junior National Championship event in Phoenix.

Jesse Schrader, a patient advocate for CSL Behring, needed more than hard work and practice to earn a college scholarship and play professional baseball; he also needed to learn how to effectively manage his health.

Jesse was born with hemophilia A, a condition he had to be constantly mindful of during a college and pro career that took him from Ohio’s Tiffin University to a professional stint in the independent Frontier League.

Now, Jesse travels to Phoenix every year to share his talent and advice with young baseball players at CSL Behring’s Gettin’ in the Game℠ Junior National Championship, a sports tournament and educational event for kids and teens who have a bleeding disorder.

With baseball season getting underway, Vita caught up with Jesse to get some of his tips for how kids with bleeding disorders can look out for their well-being on and off the mound.

Get the latest stories from Vita by signing up for our newsletter.

Stay Loose:  Stretching is generally good practice for anyone ahead of a physical activity, but for kids with bleeding disorders, it’s essential, Jesse says. Joint damage from bleeds is common in people with bleeding disorders, so Jesse advises anyone with one to make sure their joints are loose before stepping onto the diamond.

Get in Shape: Going out for a jog or starting a running regimen is a great way for those with bleeding disorders to get in baseball shape. In addition to keeping joints loose, Jesse says, it’s important to keep them strong in order to minimize the risk of a bleed.

Learn From the Experience: Beyond physical health, Jesse says he’s taken away many life lessons from the game.  “Baseball has taught me a lot about leadership, being part of a team and being competitive,” Jesse says. He adds that while that those lessons may not be the first thing on a player’s mind when they’re on the field, they pay dividends down the road.