Little Leaguer Recovering After Traumatic Head Injury From Wild Pitch

By: Brittany Gunter
By: Brittany Gunter

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.

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  • by To Anonymous on Nov 21, 2011 at 07:24 AM
    Anonymous, That is so smart of you to not let your kids play sports due to the serious injuries that can occur. I also take it that you never let them ride in the car with you. I mean far more people are seriously injured/killed by that than baseball. And dont tell me your a great drive because we all know the rest of the drivers are what you have to look out for. I guess your kids stay inside there whole life. Hope you never have a house fire. Believe it or not that claims many lives too. Danger is everywhere. Let children live a life. Dont shelter them. They are not your baby forever.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 11, 2011 at 02:29 AM
    Actually, Michelle, my kids do live a life, and it's a happy one...especially since their mother and I refuse to let them become obnoxious bullies [A.K.A. "athletes"]. Then there's the lower probability of them getting seriously injured because they're not engaging in some moronic game. In baseball, one bad pitch can permanently disfigure a player, or worse. In football, one bad tackle is all it takes to put a player in a wheelchair for life...or worse. You can keep the games; I want my kids to have an ambulatory adulthood.
  • by MICHELLE Location: ENC on Nov 10, 2011 at 04:35 PM
    The fact of the matter is that Lee is continuing to get better. Whether or not "Anonymous" is letting her kids live a life and subjecting them to being beaten up is beside the point.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 10, 2011 at 09:34 AM
    To all who have responded to my original post at 7:41 AM: For starters, I never met an athlete that wasn't a bully or at least an arrogant jerk. I will not let my kids turn into that. Plus, as I said before, how many kids in this country have been crippled or killed playing these games? Think and say what you will about me. The fact remains, our society places WAY too much importance on sports. At the end of the day, IT IS ALL JUST A GAME. I refuse to stand idly by and let my kids sacrifice their bodies, or maybe even their lives, for a stupid GAME.
  • by Anonymous Location: washnton on Nov 10, 2011 at 07:55 AM
    Accidents can happen at any age at any time.....I pray everyday that my children, husband,parents,and brothers will return home safely at the end of the day....when I was a child my mom was over protected,and I know she meant well but it made me scared to try new things...even as a teenager I wasn't allowed to go out with friends cause they were new drivers,I might get in a really caused problems in my life being so sheltered, still today I have issues with it. I'm over 40 and she still wants to know where I'm at.I know she worries and I love her to death . ..
    • reply
      by DIXIECHICK on Nov 10, 2011 at 04:30 PM in reply to
      I understand where you're coming from being sheltered. I was too, and ended up doing things that I probably would not have done if I wasn't.
  • by Anonymous Location: pb on Nov 10, 2011 at 07:44 AM
    Prayers for him...I have a friend that fell at work hit her head on the table and died two days ago. Head injuries are very glad this little fellow is doing better.
  • by grannyan Location: tarboro on Nov 10, 2011 at 07:12 AM
    you have to let your children live, and enjoy life, of course there are risks. That is how we learn and grow. Let them be kids. I am thankful that this little guy is doing well!
  • by For Love of the game on Nov 10, 2011 at 05:54 AM
    To Anonymous...I can understand you not wanting you kids to play sports, but does that mean you don't let them ride in a car? An accident can happen just as easy as the wild pitch hitting this boy. We never know what is going to happen from minute to minute, but if we put our trust in God he will protect us. He doesn't ever give us anything in life that we can't handle. My son loves baseball and I have a fear everytime he steps foot on the field, but I put my trust in the lord and he is using his talents God have him. Just a thought.
  • by DeAnna on Nov 10, 2011 at 05:47 AM
    I glade to hear that this little boy is doing well and that his accident has not altered this outlook on the game of baseball
  • by to anonymous Location: greenville on Nov 10, 2011 at 05:46 AM
    Are you going to put your kids in a bubble and never let them experience life. How about driving-not allowing them to drive when they are old enough because of a potential accident.
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