Child goes into cardiac arrest during Little League game in Colonie

Reported by: Katherine Underwood

Videographer: B. Sanders
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Updated: 4/18/2012 3:40 am
It was a horrifying Monday night for parents and players at a Colonie Little League game at Cook Park.

One of the players stepped up to bat, got hit by a pitch in the chest, and went into cardiac arrest.

We're told that little boy is recovering at Albany Medical Center tonight.     

Medical professionals tell us this is a rare occurrence – these types of incidents happen only three to four times a year across the country.

It seems Monday’s incident right here in Colonie is an example of how proper training and quick response can save a life.

“It was a terrifying night for everyone involved,” explained Colonie Little League President Frank Prevratil.

The 11-year-old player went down, parents started CPR, and a Colonie Police Officer showed up right away.

“That blunt force trauma to the chest literally stops the heart,” explained Colonie EMS Deputy Chief Peter Berry.

“As soon as [the officer] got to the victim it was quickly realized the victim was in cardiac arrest,” explained Colonie Police Lt. Robert Winn.

Thankfully, paramedics were just a minute behind the officer.

They used a defibrillator, recovered a pulse, and then rushed the child to the hospital.

“The Police Department, the EMTs, the coaches, the training really paid off,” Prevratil said.

He was one of the parents who started CPR on the child.

Prevratil says he and other adults knew what to do, thanks to Little League mandated training.

“A little boy’s life may have been saved because of that training, we would no nothing differently, and I am very proud of everyone here,” Prevratil explained.

It turns out, news of Monday’s scare on the baseball field spread quickly and made its way to a local sporting goods store.

“The first customer came in around 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. and she was shooken up, she was in tear, and she told us about it,” said Sports Authority Sales Manager Nate Novak.

Novak tells us dozens of parents have rushed in since the incident - looking for chest protection for their young baseball players.

He says there are a couple of affordable options, padded shirts, and hard plastic heart guards.

Medical professionals say this gear can help disperse the impact of a hit.

“It’s definitely a good idea get something to protect the heart,” Novak suggested.

And Colonie Little League says any gear to help avoid injury is welcome on the field.

“We always encourage parents to do everything they can to keep your child safe,” Prevratil said.

Tuesday’s games were canceled, but parents and their players were welcome to the field where there grief counselors talked with them about what happened and how to deal with it.

Prevratil tells us all games planned for Opening Day will be played as scheduled.

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patti - 4/19/2012 6:53 AM
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Fortunately, people on the scene were trained and were able to help save this child, along with the help of paramedics and a defibrillator. I would encourage your station to do a story on the importance of having Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at every sporting event, not only for the players but for the spectators as well. Please look at this website for information about commotio cordis (resulting from a blunt force blow to the chest in young people) and the importance of having AEDs on the scene. If the paramedics in the above story weren't able to arrive as quickly as they did, the outcome could have been tragic.
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