PHOTO: George H.W. Bush Throws Out First Pitch at Astros Playoff Game in First Public Appearance Since Neck Injury
George H.W. Bush has never been one to warm the bench, and at 91, he’s not about to start.
The former president threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Astros-Royals game on Sunday, in his first public outing since he suffered a serious neck injury in July.
Bush was wearing a neck brace and an Astros jersey and sitting in a wheelchair as he threw a left-handed pitch to infielder Jed Lowrie, who later gave the former president a celebratory hug.
Bush, a longtime baseball fan who was a first baseman and captain on his 1948 team at Yale University, was accompanied by former First Lady Barbara Bush to the playoff game at Minute Maid Park in Houston.
His son, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush, proudly tweeted a photo of his dad at the game, captioning it, “Dad was first baseman in college. Took him all this time to figure out he was a pitcher. Nice W ‘stros!”
Bush has had his fair share of health problems in recent years. The former president, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was hospitalized in 2012 for bronchitis, and again in late 2014 for shortness of breath. And on July 15, he fell and broke a vertebra in his neck at his summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
But his resilience and continued zest for life comes as no surprise to his friends and family, who always had faith that the 91-year-old would endure after his most recent health scare.
“He’s always had a metabolism running at full speed,” Bush’s former White House chief of staff John H. Sununu told PEOPLE in July.
“He was in very good health for all the problems he’s had,” added longtime friend and colleague Ambassador C. Boyden Gray. “He’s been able to surmount [his health issues] with better success than most people. He’s in excellent shape.”
And Peter Roussel, a Texas-based friend and colleague of Bush for 46 years, told PEOPLE in July, “Knowing him as I do, I have every confidence he’ll bounce back – and bounce back big.”
“He’s got what it takes.”