Foul Play: Episode 1
Producer Jeffrey Marlowe
Welcome to the first installment of the new CPBN web series, Foul Play. In this episode, we present the facts behind the metal bat controversy. Also, Dr. Alan Friedman, head of child cardiology, Yale-New Haven Hospital, explains what happens in a commotio cordis episode, like the one experienced by Steven Domalewski. Steven, then a 12 year old pitcher, was struck in the chest by a line drive.
Coming up next time: Joe Heinzmann tells the story of the Ridgefield, CT Little League's switch to wooden bats. In addition, WFAN radio host Rick Wolff and attorney Steve Kallas speak out against the dangers associated with metal bats.
Read the full complaint in the Steven Domalewski, a minor v. Hillerich and Bradsby Co. et al. filed May 19, 2008.
Hillerich and Bradsby VP of Corporate Communications Rick Redman stated in The Record, "We sympathize with Steven and his family, but our bat is not to blame for his injury." read the entire story
Q: What is commotio cordis?
A: Commotio cordis is a heart arrhythmia that is caused by blunt force trauma to the chest during the T-wave of the cardiac cycle. When this happens, the heart stops and the victim goes into sudden death, needing defibrillation and other emergency medical care in order to survive The T-wave only takes up about 1-3% of the cardiac cycle, so this is very rare. However, a child playing sports has an extremely fast heart rate, which increases the chance that an impact will cause commotio cordis. Combined with the fact that a child's chest is more flexible than an adult's, the chance of even an impact with small force causing commotio cordis increases. This explains why the majority of commotio cordis cases occur in children under age 18 engaging in sports and other athletic activities.
Q: Have there been metal bat related law suits previous to the Domalewski case?
A: Yes, there have been several suits against Hillerich and Bradsby settled in and out of court. The most famous of these was the Sanchez v. Hillerich and Bradsby case of 2002, where the bat company was sued for making a bat too dangerous to meet NCAA requirements for pitcher reaction time. Another case was the Jeremy Brett case in Oklahoma in 2001, where the Hillerich & Bradsby had to pay $150,000 in damages. There was no appeal. As far as Little League and Sports Authority, this is the first time a suit of this kind has been filed against them.
Q: Why is Little League named in the Domalewski suit if the game was not a Little League sanctioned one?
A: It is true that the Police Athletic League game Steven Domalewski was injured in is not a Little League sanctioned league. However, Little League did label the bat safe for child use, which is why they are being sued.