Maggie was hit by a ground ball during an infield drill. Granted, it was a freak injury to an artery. However, this came only days after the death of minor league baseball coach, Mike Coolbaugh. Mike was killed by a batted baseball. (Baseballs are even more dense than Softballs.) Maggie died at DeVos Children's hospital. Her mom, Jan Hilbrands did not blame anyone. However, if Mrs Hilbrands starts directing blame toward the manufacturers of the ball and the associations that govern play, perhaps they will create a safer less dense ball. Maggie was going into the seventh grade at Christian Middle School. Her team Lowell Extreme has scheduled a memorial tournament in Maggie's honor. That is great. Now in her honor, please ask the manufacturers why a less dense ball should not be used to play this great sport known as "softball." Even if it could not have prevented Maggie's death, it may save some future player form serious injury.
Update 9-29-07 Andy Buff an 11-year-old boy was hit with a baseball as he squared to bunt. He was hit in the chest by the ball, lost consciousness, and his pulse stopped. Fortunately, quick work from two medical professionals who had sons playing in the Greenville County tournament saved Andy from death. A 2005 article by Dr. Michael A. Yorio and Dr. Tom Marino of the University of Maryland Sports Medicine call such injuries, commotio cordis ("sudden cardiac death after a chest blow without physical damage to the heart.") The doctors wrote that blunt trauma to the chest from a hard ball is transmitted to the heart. If it occurs at the wrong time during a heartbeat, it disrupts the organ's electrical system and triggers a change from a normal rhythm to a fatal arrhythmia. Thank God that two professionals were present this week to save Andy Buff. Perhaps someone will hear the call to use lower compression and lower core balls in sports.
Update 11-05-07 Anyone listening yet? In Florida, Cayden Huels (age 4) died after he walked in front of a "pitch-back net and was hit in the chest by a baseball.Cayden Huels was a victim of a sudden heart disturbance "commotio cordis". "It has to be a specific location and carefully timed in the cardiac cycle," said Dr. Barry Maron, a cardiologist with the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation. An autopsy Friday showed Cayden died of ventricular fibrillation caused by a blunt impact to the chest, said Harrison Cowan, a medical examiner's investigator in Tampa.