OMAHA, Neb. (BVM) – Last Monday, Drew Beam pitched seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts to help Tennessee beat Southern Mississippi in super regionals and get to Omaha, Nebraska for the College World Series. While he was out on the mound, Beam donned the purple glove he has had all season and that has special meaning to him as well as his family.
The glove is Beam’s way of showing support and bringing awareness to spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). It’s a genetic disease that attacks the central nervous system, affecting the muscles’ ability to receive signals which leads to them not developing properly. Beam’s sister, Carlee, has had the disease from a young age and forced her to be in a wheelchair.
“SMA’s primary color is purple and so whenever I got the chance to create a glove, first thing I went with was I was thinking purple,” Drew said earlier this season. “Because, one, it’s not a normal color to see here on campus at Tennessee and so I just knew it’d bring questions and bring, you know, heightened sense around it and have people ask questions about it.”
That would give Drew the chance to tell people about the disease that has affected his sister her entire life.
It also helps that the sophomore pitcher has been extremely effective on the mound for Tennessee. Drew is 9-4 on the mound this season and was an All-American as a freshman last year. He has a 3.78 ERA and goes into each game not just thinking about playing well for his teammates, but also his sister.
“If I get the awareness out enough, money can be raised for awareness in general,” Drew said. “These, you know, kids who are born with SMA, now they can get those drugs earlier and it actually could reverse and change their life as much as I want it for my sister.”
In early May, Carlee got to go out with her brother and throw out the first pitch at Lindsey Nelson Stadium.
— Kelli Fussell Beam (@beamteamtn) May 13, 2023
Now, Drew is on the biggest stage in college baseball and is going to play a huge role in any run that the Vols go on. It’s a national stage and millions will get the chance to see that purple glove. When they do, Drew will be ready to answer all their questions as he tries to help his little sister anyway he can.