Steve Scalise returns for Congressional baseball game a year after shooting

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) returned to the baseball diamond on Thursday, exactly a year after a being shot in the hip during a baseball practice for Republican lawmakers. 

Scalise was one of six people injured during a shooting at the Alexandria, Virginia, park where GOP congressmen were practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity last June. Scalise was shot while in position on second base, and is set to start for the Republican team in the same position. 

“That fact that I get to start at second is really special,” Scalise, 52, told reporters Thursday morning. “To be able to walk back out on this field, a year later, is an incredible feeling.”

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WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) (C) is helped to second base by US Capitol Police Officers David Bailey (R) and Crystal Griner (L) during the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) warms up as the Democrats and Republicans prepare to face off in the annual Congressional Baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: US Capitol Police Officer David Bailey celebrates as Crystal Griner (not pictured) throws out the ceremonial first pitch during the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: US Capitol Police Officer Crystal Griner throws out the ceremonial first pitch during the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) embrace as the Democrats and Republicans prepare to face off in the annual Congressional Baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Speaker of the House Rep Paul Ryan (R-WI) waves to fans from the Republican dugout prior to the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: Rep. Roger Williams, R-Texas, left, greets Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., and his daughter Cecelia, 4, before the 57th annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park on June 14, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 14: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., leaves the Capitol for the Congressional Baseball Game on Thursday, June 14, 2018. Scalise was wounded a year ago this day during the shooting at the Republican's baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: US House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) warms up prior to the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last year's game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: US House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) walks off the field after warming up prior to the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last year's game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) listens to the National Anthem prior to the annual Congressional Baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2018. REUTERS/Toya Sarno Jordan
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) makes a play to first base resulting in an out after fielding a ground ball on the first pitch of the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) (C) is helped off the field by Rep Cedric Richmond (D-LA) (R) and Rep Bran Wenstroup (R-OH) (L) after playing second base during the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) makes a play to first base resulting in an out after fielding a ground ball on the first pitch of the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) (C) is helped off the field by Rep Cedric Richmond (D-LA) (R) and Rep Bran Wenstroup (R-OH) (L) after playing second base during the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) celebrates with Rep Jeff Duncan (R-SC) after making a play to first base resulting in an out after fielding a ground ball on the first pitch of the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 14: Rep Steve Scalise (R-LA) (C) (3rd from left) and members of the Republican team stand for the national anthem prior to the Congressional Baseball Game on June 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. Scalise was shot during a team practice before last years game. This is the 57th annual game between the Republicans and Democrats. (Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images)
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Crowds at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., cheered as Scalise took the field on Thursday, hugging his fellow congressmen in celebration of the moment. 

The congressman underwent surgery for a “trans-pelvic gunshot wound” which caused “substantial damage to bones, organs and blood vessels,” the director of trauma at MedStar Washington Hospital Center said at the time. Scalise was in critical condition and has had nine surgeries since the shooting. 

The congressman recovered to the point where he could throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Washington Nationals game in October. He chose to play in the charity game again this year, despite still being affected by the injuries.

“I still need two crutches to really move around,” Scalise told CNN on Thursday before the event. “I’ve started to be able to walk without crutches but don’t quite have the balance to move at a good pace.”

Lawmakers went ahead with the scheduled charity game the day after the shooting. Republicans and Democrats came together before the event to pray for the six injured. 

“Around this time last year, I was in my office on the phone with Steve Scalise’s wife,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) tweeted on Thursday. “We didn’t yet know that Steve-o had such a long fight ahead of him. But one year later, we know our prayers were answered.”

Former U.S. Rep. John Tener, a retired professional baseball player, organized the first congressional game in 1909, and the tradition continued intermittently since then. In its modern form, the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity is a fundraiser where Republicans and Democrats face off on the field for a good cause.

Last year, after the shooting, the game raised $1.5 million in ticket sales that were distributed in grants for multiple charities. The funds were also used to help support others injured in the shooting, including two U.S. Capitol Police officers. 

Scalise wore a Capitol Police baseball hat at the game to honor the officers who helped save his life by engaging with the shooter.  

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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