ROHNERT PARK (CBS SF) — An 8-year-old boy whose heart rhythm was disrupted when he was hit by a baseball during a game in Rohnert Park on Saturday afternoon is recovering at Children’s Hospital and Research Center in Oakland.

The boy was at bat when he was hit in the chest by a pitch, and started jogging toward first base after he was struck, then collapsed.

The player, who was identified on the Rohnert Park Cal Ripken league’s Facebook page as Matthew Henry, was immediately given CPR by Petaluma Fire Department paramedic and Capt. Dan Farren and his wife Sue Farren, an executive with Falck ambulance services.

Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety Officer Brandon Davidge, an engineer with the city’s fire department, then applied a single shock to the boy’s heart with an automated external defibrillator.

Matthew was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital then to Children’s Hospital in Oakland.

Rohnert Park police Sgt. Aaron Johnson, the director of baseball operations for the Cal Ripken league, said he received an email from the boy’s family this morning in which they said their son is progressing in his recovery and will remain under observation.

The boy suffered commotio cordis, an interruption of the heart rhythm.

“It is essentially a disruption of the heart during a very small fraction of time in the heart cycle when there is blunt trauma to the chest,” said Johnson, an emergency medical technician for 20 years.

The Cal Ripken league’s board of directors voted Monday night to purchase 100 heart protectors for any players who voluntarily want to wear one under their uniforms while at bat or in the field, Johnson said.

They are smaller than a catcher’s chest protector and cover the heart, Johnson said.

They will be available for purchase at a nominal cost, but the League will try to make arrangements for any family that can’t afford one, Johnson said.

“It’s a new piece of equipment, but is becoming a part of the routine, Johnson said.

Baseball players are taught to turn their backs to the pitcher’s mound to avoid being hit in the front of their bodies by a pitch, Johnson said.

Johnson, who also has an 8-year-old son, said, however, that he is not sure his child could make the split-second decision to turn his back if a ball were speeding toward him.

“I’ll probably buy the heart guard for my son,” he said.

The pitcher who threw the ball is heartened by news of the boy’s recovery, Johnson said.

“When he gets good news, it gives him more hope and courage,” Johnson said.

The pitcher’s team encouraged him during practice on Monday to get back on the mound, Johnson said.

“It’s every pitcher’s nightmare, especially at a young age,” Johnson said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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