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Boy Goes Into Cardiac Arrest at Little League Game

Zoonar/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An 11-year-old boy was revived after going into cardiac arrest after being hit by a pitch during a  Monday night Little League game at Cook Park in Colonie, N.Y.

It was a balmy night in the Albany suburb. In the bottom of the first inning the little leaguer went up to bat. The ball struck him in the chest, causing him to collapse to the ground.

He had suffered from a condition called commotio cordis. It is incredibly rare, occurring only three to four times a year nationally and mostly in young boys while playing sports.

“It’s an agitation of the heart,” said Colonie EMS Chief Peter Berry. “It happens when a sports player suffers blunt force trauma. If it hits just right, it disrupts the heart’s electric signals and sends the child into cardiac arrest.”

Minutes after the boy collapsed, Prevratil, the Colonie Little League president and manager for the opposing team, leapt into action. He, other coaches and the umpire ran over to the boy while someone immediately called 911.

For about four minutes, Prevratil was on the ground with the boy trying to keep him alert. However, as his breathing grew shallower and his pulse stopped, the CPR-certified Prevratil knew that he had to act and began giving chest compressions to the boy.  Thirty seconds after compressions began, the boy started breathing sporadically and a police officer showed up and continued CPR treatments. A minute after that, EMTs arrived and administered two shocks to the boy’s chest with a defibrillator.

He regained consciousness and was transported to Albany Medical Center. Berry said that the boy is “doing very well” and is “in good spirits.”

According to Berry, 65 percent of children that go into commotio cordis die from it.

Little League International mandates all of its coaches are trained to use an automatic external defibrillator and Berry thinks that the training could even go further.

“It might be a good idea to mandate Little League CPR training.  It’s something we feel very strongly about. Early recognition and initiation of CPR is so important,” he said.

“You never know when you’re going to need it [training]. Thank God I had it,” Prevratil said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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