4-year-old recovering after being hit in head with baseball

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A baseball is a piece of Americana. It weighs just 6 ounces, the same as an apple, and yet when it's flying at about 100 mph, it can do a lot of damage.

Four-year-old Noah Stotler was hit in the face by a baseball at the Jacksonville Suns game on Saturday night.

Noah loves baseball so much, the first question he asked his dad in the hospital was who won the game.

He didn't get to see the finish because he was hit in the forehead by a line drive. Doctors said it could have been deadly.

"All I heard was the crack of the bat, the sound of it hitting him, and that's all I could -- I couldn't get it out of my mind," said Brian Stotler, Noah's dad.

When it happened, Noah's face looked fine. In fact, Brian didn't think the ball hit him because he wasn't crying. But he took him home anyway.

Once they got home Noah started throwing up and not making sense, so his parents took him to a clinic.

"You begin to immediately say, 'Why was it not me? Why could the ball not have hit me?'" Brian said. "And you realize how tender and soft and fragile a 4-year-old child is. Could he survive this?"

A CT scan indicated a brain bleed, so Noah was rushed by ambulance to Wolfson Children's Hospital.

Noah had an epidural brain hematoma, shattered forehead and an orbital roof bone fracture.

"The doctor told us that if he had been looking up and watching if the ball would have hit him in the face, the outcome would have been very different," Brian said.

As soon as Noah got to the hospital, he was rushed to surgery.

"I can be honest, while I was sitting in there for those three hours, it certainly went through my mind that he could come back and say everything is not OK," said Debby Stotler, Noah's mom.

But everything went great.

"I guess he said within just a few minutes of waking up, 'Oh, great, I've already been here all day,' and they were thrilled because he was very aware he was in the same place and was annoyed," Debby said.

Noah has had some famous visitors come see him while in the hospital. Suns and Jaguars players went to wish him a speedy recovery.

"I just told him God has greater plans for you and you're not going anywhere, you are staying with us for a while," Debby said.

Even though it looks like his right eye is the most damaged place on Noah's face, his sight should not be affected at all.

Noah is in good condition at the hospital and should released by Saturday.

About the Author: