SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – After being nearly beaten to death with a baseball bat six years ago, a Farmington Hills man made a miraculous recovery and returned to the field.
Tucker Cipriano made national headlines in 2012 when he attacked his family in his Farmington Hills home with his friend, Mitchel Young.
The two brutally attacked Cipriano's father, Bob Cipriano, mother, Rose Cipriano, and brother, Sal Cipriano, with a baseball bat. Bob Cipriano was killed, but Rose and Sal Cipriano survived. They have been fighting to overcome brain damage and other serious injuries.
After the attack, Sal Cipriano, 23, was in a wheelchair and needed a feeding tube. He suffered a right skull fracture and had numerous seizures. Nobody knew how much he would or could recover.
But six years later, he was back on a baseball diamond in Southfield, wearing No. 4 for the Angels in the Miracle League.
"He has made strides that I never thought anyone would be able to really go through," Coach Hussein Alzuhd said. "It's amazing. Two games ago, he hit a grand slam for us and a single home run, and he does it constantly and consistently. It's incredible."
Baseball is Sal Cipriano's love. He was a junior playing travel baseball at the time of the attack, and now, getting back on the field is helping his recovery.
"What we've really seen with Sal is those deep-rooted habits are coming and he's throwing the ball well," Coach Dave Peczinski said. "It's like he really didn't miss a day. He doesn't have the strength that he had before, but the quality of play -- you can tell there is a baseball player inside there."
Sal Cipriano can't speak, but he can communicate by typing a message that can be played on a phone.
"He's staying motivated in his recovery," Rose Cipriano said. "More strength and independence. Every time he plays here, he comes home and feels a lot better."
Rose Cipriano is also doing much better. She suffered serious brain damage, went into a coma and had to re-learn how to speak. Now, she is competing in state swim meets. She was a college swimmer and said the pool brings her peace.
"Oh, a lot," Rose Cipriano said. "It has gotten my strength back, mentally and physically. I'm doing it three times a week."
Rose and Sal Cipriano are beating the odds and making miraculous recoveries. When Local 4 attended Sal Cirpriano's game, he hit a two-run home run in his final at-bat. His mother cheered for her son, thankful that he could play again.
The Angels won the game, 16-12.
The next hurdle for Sal Cipriano is speaking. His mother said they are working with a group of professionals to help him.
For more information, visit the Cipriano Support Page Facebook group here.
Donations can be sent to:
Cipriano Children's Trust Fund
PO Box 2503,
Farmington Hills, MI 48333