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Why Did I Survive My Brush With Death on a Baseball Field?

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Message Roger Shuler
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Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer

This has been a tragic spring, with thousands of American lives lost,  or savagely disrupted, by tornadoes in the Southeast and Midwest.

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It's hard to compare stories of tragedy, to determine which is more sad or disturbing. But one that touched me deeply came last week when a youth baseball player died after being hit in the chest with a thrown ball. It happened in Winslow, Arizona, the town made famous by Jackson Browne and the Eagles in the timeless hit "Take It Easy" ("I was standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, and such a fine sight to see . . . ).

Hayden Walton, 13, tried to bunt a pitch, but it hit him in the chest. Walton took a few steps toward first base before collapsing. He died the next morning.

Baseball is the quintessential American game. Some of my fondest memories as a kid are of playing baseball, both the informal kind in someone's backyard or an open field and the organized kind, which I played in various leagues from age 8 up into high school. The thought of a child dying while playing baseball  is so implausible that it scrambles the mind.

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The Hayden Walton story hits particularly close to home because I probably came a few microseconds away from meeting a similar fate when I was 9 years old.

Walton died from commotio cordis,  which is a disruption of the heart rhythm from a blow to the chest during a critical time in the heart beat. The name of the condition comes from the Latin for "agitation of the heart." What happens during commotio cordis? Here is how medscape.com article describes it:

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
 
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