Happy New Year Starport family! As we usher in a new year, let’s take a moment to catch up with one of our own, Duane Radicioni, a Starport sport league participant.
I’m sure everyone is in the same boat when I say I can’t wait for all this rain and cold weather to move along, so we can get back those t-shirts and shorts and just enjoy that spring time air. The same applies to Mr. Radicioni, a regular Starport softball league player. However, Mr. Radiocioni isn’t your normal softball player. He suffered a baseball injury in high school, which triggered Gorham’s disease and massive bone loss that ultimately led to the amputation of his right leg.
The veteran softball player has been at NASA for more than 16 years and works at Barrios Technology. Mr. Radicioni started as an International Space Station flight controller at NASA and later moved into management. Currently, he supervises the Mission and Research Operations group that manages and integrates information for the International Space Station Program. Almost two years ago he was drawn to softball by his teammates, and was encouraged to join the Mission and Program Integration (MAPI) coed softball team.
“It started out as team building, but as any competitor knows it brought back the drive to play team sports,” Radicioni said. “MAPI Marvels is becoming a force to be reckoned with.” When you go to the ballpark and see Radicioni pickup a ball or bat it amazes not only his teammates, but the opposing players, umpires, and fans as well. “Life in general is about overcoming obstacles and coming out on the other side a little stronger and wiser,” Radicioni said. “If in some way I can help another individual break through to reach their potential, I am all for it.”
Radicioni has defied the odds his entire life; he values the importance of keeping the competitive fire burning and not letting obstacles get in his way. He placed second at a national power-lifting competition after his injury, and volunteered in college to help teach children with disabilities learn how to snow ski.
The Starport staff has also been fascinated with Mr. Radicioni. “We don’t know much about his background, but just seeing him hustle around the field on one leg strikes me as maybe the most remarkable display of spirit I have ever seen in the sport,” said an umpire. “Mr. Radicioni is a role model. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, you have to look up to that guy. He is a remarkable athlete. He pitches, throws strikes, fields his position, bats, gets base hits, and runs. He is a complete player and plays the game the right way. We all need positive influences in our lives and Duane is a great example,” says Drew Dobbins, Starport’s Director of Sports.
Radicioni lives a pretty busy life outside of softball, which includes keeping up with a wife and three kids, who also live active lifestyles, participating in gymnastics and soccer.
“I’d like to thank my fellow teammates, the Starport sports faculty and the umpires,” Radicioni said. “They’re the ones having to put up with our shenanigans every week, keeping things light and spirited out on the fields.” Mr. Radicioni has also stated that no one takes it easy on him out on the field. Other teams have even offered him a spot on their roster. “Now that’s a compliment,” says Radicioni.
If you’re interested in learning more about Starport’s adult or youth sports programs, please visit our website: starport.jsc.nasa.gov ; imleagues.com/nasa-starport ; or email firstname.lastname@example.org