Every baseball parents nightmare. Via the Indianapolis Star:
The death this week of an 8-year-old Union City [Indiana] boy hit by a baseball during an all-star team practice has left a small community in stunned grief.
Dylan Williams was hit in the head by a ball Tuesday and brought to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, where he died Wednesday after his family opted to have him taken off life support.
Union City Mayor Bryan Conklin had to compose himself several times as he talked Thursday about Dylan’s death.
“It’s probably one of the saddest things I’ve ever heard,” Conklin said in a telephone interview. His voice cracked; he stopped, then apologized.
He has two children, he said, and they’re older, but … he was imagining the pain of Dylan’s parents.
“For a kid to be playing something he likes to do, and then … it’s just … heart-breaking.”
Union City, 95 miles northeast of Indianapolis, has a population of about 5,000, Conklin said, and many residents are connected. He used to work with Dylan’s grandfather; another city employee worked for his grandmother, and “everybody just knows everybody,” Conklin said.
Discussions have begun about when and how the city might hold a remembrance or memorial event for Dylan, but nothing is firm, the mayor said.
Michael Fulk, all-star coordinator with the Union City Baseball Boosters, said no decisions had been made about whether to play for the rest of the season. Union City’s teams were scheduled for a tournament this weekend, but things are up in the air, he said.
Counselors are being made available for children and their families, he said.
An autopsy Thursday by the Marion County coroner’s office showed the cause of Dylan’s death was “complications of blunt force trauma” to the right side of his head and neck.
Dylan’s father, Erick Williams, was coaching at the time and saw his son get hit, he told Dayton, Ohio, television station WHIO-TV.
“He was playing first base and they went to throw a ball to him and he wasn’t really looking, and to me it looked like it hit him in the side of the neck and he just dropped to the ground,” Williams told the TV station.
I have lost count, as a Little League coach, how many times I have warned kids about NEVER throwing a ball to someone who is not looking and ready to catch it. Of course, I have never warned them that it may lead to a fatality. More so, I have preached that it could lead to injuries to the mouth, nose and eyes. (In 1974, when I was 11, someone clocked me with a throw that I didn’t see and I lost an adult tooth and required major work to some others. Therefore, I speak from experience.)
That said, to be candid, there are some kids who are in Little League who have close to zero business being on the field – and are likely there solely because their parents just signed them up – and they are not paying attention, more times than not; or, they just don’t have the skills to catch a ball thrown by someone else, their age, with decent to advanced skills. And, as a coach, I’ve had to talk to parents about why I fear their kids playing a position where balls are coming in that direction – and why I often won’t allow their kid to be in that spot.
However, in this case, this was an all-star team practice. So, I doubt it was a matter of skills and more just a case of an accident.
My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this tragedy – both the family who suffered the loss and to the boy (and his family) who threw the ball. (I assume it was a player who threw it – and not a coach.) I cannot imagine how terrible it must feel to be someone who was part of this situation.