AUBURN HILLS (WWJ) – An Avondale High School student who survived being struck in the heart by a baseball is showing positive signs toward improvement.

That’s the word from school district officials, in a statement issued Wednesday.  

Dr. George Heitsch, Superintendent for Avondale Schools, said the 16-year old sophomore was injured at school when he was struck in the heart by a baseball that was thrown to him during open gym Monday morning before school.

The district has learned that as a result of the injury, the student’s heart was bruised and he went into
arrhythmia, which caused him to have a seizure. Luckily, the Junior Varsity baseball coach was there, and administered chest compressions while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.   

WWJ spoke this week with Dr. Nancy Cutler with Beaumont Children’s Hospital, who said the impact caused a state of confusion of the heart.

“It occurs when there’s a real sudden and powerful blow to the chest, directly over the heart. The impact has to occur at the exact fraction of a second to trigger this disorganization of the electrical part of the heart,” she said.

“So, it’s so rare because it’s such a fraction of a millisecond that it has to occur, with such a powerful blow, at the exact angle,” Cutler said.

Cutler said the condition is most commonly seen in baseball, but can also happen in other sports including hockey and martial arts. Cutler said about two-thirds of the people who have an event like this do not survive.

Heitsch said, while they couldn’t offer further details about the teen’s condition, the district will “continue to offer our prayers and support for the student’s complete recovery and return to the Avondale school community.”

The student’s name has not been released.


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