13 year old Little leaguer dies after baseball hits his heart


ABC 15

A 13-year-old Little League player died earlier this week when a baseball hit him in the chest while he was trying to bunt during a game, officials in Arizona said.

The tragic freak incident happened when Hayden Walton took an inside pitch straight to his chest as he was trying to get the short hit off, according to a Winslow Little League official. After taking two steps, he collapsed in front of a horrified crowd that included his parents.

Walton died the next morning. Paramedics said that the smiley kid died of commotion cordis, which means his heart gave out after he was hit by the pitch, according to ABC-15.

According to University of Maryland Sports Medicine doctors Michael Yorio and Tom Maino, the sudden deaths happen after an impact triggers a change in the electrical rhythm of the heart, leading to sudden cardiac arrest.

But it’s so rare, that as of 2001, there were only 128 reported incidents.

“As a parent, the anguish over the loss of a child is incomprehensible,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said in a statement posted on the league’s website.

“So words cannot adequately express our sorrow on the passing of Hayden. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Hayden’s family, all the players and volunteers of the Winslow Little League, his classmates, and his friends, at this difficult time.”

The league suspended play temporarily and offered grief counseling for anyone who needed it.

Walton, who was a “good kid all around”, also participated in Boy Scouts and helped neighbors by doing odds job for them, said Dale Thomas, the president of the Winslow Little League.

“You were one of a kind, and I for sure will never forget you. May you rest in peace,” one mourner wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to Walton. “I’m sure heaven has one heck of a baseball field and race track for you buddy.”

…This is a terrible accident that I read last night and thought I should share with you all. I am just thinking about all the players hurt the last few weeks.  Buster Posey, Jordan Schafer, and now a little leaguer? Just imagine what the pitcher is thinking from this accident? We saw Scott Cousins reaction after the Posey accident. He was not able to sleep and cope with what happened that night. That little 13-year-old pitcher must feel terrible for what happened. I have played 13 years of little league and I will have to say that I have never seen anything like that but my heart goes out to this kid and the family. But as I read into this situation I was thinking, don’t they teach the youngsters not to bunt on an inside pitch and pull back to prevent injury? I feel like this could have been prevented with right coaching and direction. I don’t think 13 year olds throw the ball 70 mph  but probably 50-55 mph range. But none the less, I must say that anything struck near the heart could shut down the nervous system and shut down the body like it did to Hayden. My heart goes out to him and this should be a lesson taught to all the youngsters wanting to play ball to be more safe…

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