Tragedy Averted as Coaches and Nurses Save Boy on Baseball Field

Sean Neely, 12, was playing catcher when he was hit in chest by a foul ball

Sean Neely, 12, was playing catcher when he was hit in chest by a foul ball

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ--Sean Neely, 12, is alive today because of the lifesaving efforts of two Freehold Township, New Jersey, Little League coaches and other volunteers who came to the child’s aid during a baseball game at Michael J. Tighe Park, Freehold Township, on May 12.

Sean was playing catcher for the Rangers in a game against the Blue Jays and was wearing a chest protector that was properly fitted, officials said. During the top of the fourth inning, a ball was fouled off by a batter, and it struck Sean in the chest, sending him into cardiac arrest.

A quick response from Sean’s coaches Steve Crowley and Mike Schlessinger, who initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), along with help from Maureen Gugliotta and Sue Portaleos (both nurses), brought Sean back to life, according to his parents, Tom and Candy Neely.

The condition called commotio cordis is a rare cardiac phenomenon.

A March 2010 article in the New England Journal of Medicine by Barry J. Maron and Mark Estes III states, “Ventricular fibrillation and sudden death caused by a blunt non-penetrating and often innocent appearing unintentional blow to the chest without damage to the ribs, sternum or heart and in the absence of cardiac disease constitute an event known as commotio cordis.”

An article by Maron, Estes and Mark S. Link in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology states that survival is “uncommon,” but puts the survival rate of commotio cordis at 15 percent, adding that those rates are increasing due to the incidence of increasing prompt CPR.

Tom and Candy Neely said this week that their son, who is a student at the Eisenhower Middle School and has no history of cardiac problems, is doing well.

Sean was released from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) on May 14 and is anxiously awaiting clearance to return to baseball.

Sean’s parents expressed their gratitude to the coaches and nurses who helped their son .“Words cannot express our thanks for the quick action of those who saved our boy. They need to be recognized as heroes,” the Neelys said.

The doctors at CHOP said that if it had not been for the immediate delivery of CPR, the child would not have survived.

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SOURCE: News Transcript

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