On July 4, 2007, I wrote a blog entry “Josh Hancock: Family and Grief” and shared my thoughts about how Josh’s family were dealing with his tragic death; misplacing their pain and grief. It is unfortunately no surprise that another family has made a choice to try to make litigation the salve to ease their overwhelming pain in a terrible situation.
In 2006, Steve Domalewski, age 12, was a Little League pitcher.
He was hit by a line drive in the chest just above his heart. His heart stopped and his doctors say he was without oxygen for 15-20 minutes. His family has brought a lawsuit against Little League Baseball, Sports Authority (who sold the bat), and Hillerich & Bradsby Co. (who made the bat) stating they should have known the bat was dangerous for children to use.
The picture in the accompanying article depicts a young man who will probably require the help and supervision of his parents and family members for the rest of his life. I can only imagine their disbelief about a life that took a turn they did not see coming. They must now help their son live a life that has quality and purpose in a very different path than he was on at age 11. But I do not believe that a bat or its manufacturer is to blame for these events.
First, the word ‘accident’ by definition “is an event occurring by chance or unintentionally” according to Merriam-Webster (1997 Merriam-Webster Inc.) and I doubt a 12-year-old batter in a Little League game intentionally hit a ball to strike another player. Baseball bats are constructed by weight and length for use by a player that fits his/her comfort – and at age 12 was probably chosen by the player or parent when it was purchased by them! An accident. Horrible. Uncalculated. Tragic. Hard-to-find-the-‘why’—ACCIDENT!!!
From my ‘bleacher seat’ observation post and taking full consideration that this was not my child and I have distance from the situation – I am begging an answer to this question: Why was Steven without oxygen for 15-20 minutes? Was there no one present who knew CPR?
It seems that might be a good place to put outrage and grief at this situation. This is an opportunity to impact thousands of children, making a game they love a little more safe. Possibilities: Every Little League sponsored team must have CPR certified people present. Encourage every coach to be CPR certified. Encourage PARENTS to be CPR certified!!! You could designate the CPR certified adult as a “Steven’s Staffer” in his honor!
Look at ways that if a similar accident happens again, the outcome for that child might be better because someone knew how to respond.
Grief doesn’t come just when a child dies. Grief comes at the death of a dream; a way of life. Grief ‘wins’ only if we let it destroy and stop before a ‘new life’ can begin.