A wild pitch nearly cost a young boy his life when he was hit in the head and suffered a brain hemorrhage. His family is speaking out so others know what to do when kids suffer a traumatic head injury.
Eleven-year-old Lee Winstead of Nash County was struck in the head with a wild pitch at a little league baseball game just weeks ago. He was sitting outside the dugout watching some of his teammates warm up before his little league game when it happened.
Lee's mom Lori says his head didn't appear to be swelling and he told her he just wanted to sit and watch the game, but then Lee began to complain of a headache and said he wanted to go to sleep. At that point Lori decided to take him to the emergency room. It's a decision that doctors say saved his life.
After a CT scan doctors discovered Lee had a brain hemorrhage and had to undergo emergency surgery. Lori says, "They told us that they got there just in time."
Lee spent weeks in the hospital recovering with his parents by his side and his teammates and community behind him.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cases like Lee's are on the rise across the country. That's partly because of an increase in participation of youth leagues.
Dr. Brock Niceler is a sports medicine doctor at ECU. He says head injuries and concussions are not uncommon during youth sports. That's why he says it's so important for parents, coaches, and even athletes to know the signs and symptoms of a concussion.
Doctor Niceler says anytime an athlete gets hit in the head there is always a concern for concussions. Some of the signs are headache, dizziness, fogginess, difficulty concentrating and sleeping and mood problems.
It's also important to act quickly, just like Lori did. Dr. Niceler says, "It's true that if you wait a couple of hours, that could be the difference between life and death if there is a hemorrhage going on."
Lee's parents say it's remarkable that after only a few weeks he's out of the hospital and recovering at home. Lori says, "We still have a long road to go, but we are going to get there with God's help."
Lee does have some vision issues and other limitations after the injury, but he's working with a physical therapist. He's now able to get back to some of the things he loves, like throwing the baseball and playing with his dog. He hopes this accident doesn't stop him from stepping onto that baseball diamond and playing again.