Yesterday, a NJ teen who has been brain-damaged after a fateful 2006 Little League game was awarded a $14.5 million settlement. His family had sued Little League, sporting retailer the Sports Authority, and makers of the Louisville Slugger metal bat that sent the line drive into Steven Domalewski's chest.
Steven was a 12-year-old pitcher when a batter hit a line drive right into him. Here's how the AP described the impact:
The ball slammed into the boy’s chest, just above his heart, knocking him backward. He clutched his chest, then made a motion to reach for the ball on the ground to pick it up and throw to first base.
But he never made it that far. The ball had struck his chest at the precise millisecond between heartbeats, sending him into cardiac arrest, his doctors have said. He crumpled to the ground and stopped breathing. By the time emergency services resuscitated him, his brain had been without oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes.
His father told the AP in 2008, "Pretty much, he died. It was just so fast. The thud, you could hear. When it hit him, that seemed to echo." The incident prompted concerns about metal bats and overall safety at youth baseball games.
Ernest Fronzuto, the family's attorney, said, "The Domalewskis are still saddened by the tragic events of June 2006, but this settlement provides them with some relief and comfort that Steven will get the care he needs for the rest of his life. He still can’t perform any functions of daily life on his own." Here's Fronzuto—with footage of now-19-year-old Steven—discussing the outcome:
Fronzuto told 1010 WINS, "This is all about Steven. They are relieved about this settlement and that this money will be used to provide money care for Steven for the rest of his life... He certainly made some significant medical improvements over the years, but he still cannot perform any function of daily living independently. He requires assistance for everything."
City Councilman James Oddo, who got metal bats banned from high school baseball, wrote on his Facebook page, "Several years ago I met Mr. & Mrs. Domalewski at a hearing in Trenton, NJ on youth baseball. They are wonderful people and have endured a truly tragic situation with their son. I vividly recall as Mr. Domalewski took to the witness table to testify and Mrs. Domalewski sat next to me and began shaking as Joe recounted the details of Steven's accident... I hope this settlement provides them with the financial peace of mind to continue to care for Steven. The money could never heal their broken hearts, that I know... I keep Steven and his family in my thoughts. I hope that karma comes around and catches everyone in metal bat cartel who traded in lies and deceit all in search of the mighty dollar, while all too willing to put kids at an elevated risk."