Monday, September 22, 2003

Teen hit in chest by ball dies at hospital

By William A Weathers
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MELBOURNE - A 15-year-old Alexandria boy collapsed and died Sunday afternoon after he was struck in the chest with a baseball in Pendery Park.

Justin Saccone, a student at Campbell County High School, died at St Luke Hospital about 4:30 p.m. shortly after being struck in the chest while trying to bunt a ball while playing in the Campbell County Knothole baseball league, Deputy County Coroner Al Garnick said.

Mike Combs, executive director of the league, said Justin missed the bunt attempt and was struck in the chest by the ball. He fell down, but got up and jogged to first base before collapsing and losing consciousness, he said.

"He attempted to bunt, squared up, missed it, and it hit him in the chest," Combs said. "He got up jogged to first base and fell down." .

The teen was unconscious when he arrived at the hospital and died a short time later, Garnick said.

A crisis team of at least 19 counselors will be at the high school this morning to talk to students, Combs said.

Garnick said an autopsy will be performed.

Deaths from being struck in the chest by a baseball are rare.

In 1999, a 5-year-old boy died of a similar injury in Millard, Neb., according to press reports.

In May 1994, two children - a 9-year-old boy in Hershey, Pa., and a 3-year-old boy in Texas - died after being hit in the chest by baseballs.



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