EASTLAKE, Ohio — A 9-year-old girl went to the Lake County Captains baseball game Sunday but left in an ambulance.
Tiyler McNeely of Concord Twp. was at the game with her father and two siblings when a foul ball hit her in the side of her head.
“I was just watching the baseball game and then I woke up and my face started hurting,” said Tiyler.
An EMS worker quickly began first aid but realized she need to get to a hospital.
At Lake West hospital, doctors discovered multiple skull fractures.
Tiyler was life flighted to MetroHealth Medical Center and had to undergo emergency surgery.
Her parents said it took 30 staples and 10 titanium plates to repair the damage.
“It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen,” said Tristan Lawson, Tiyler’s mother.
“It was the perfect indentation of a baseball right on the side of her head,” said John McNeely, Tiyler’s father.
Doctors say baseball hits can be very damaging.
Dr. Charles Emerman, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at MetroHealth Medical Center, said concussions are a big problem.
If a person is struck by a ball and loses consciousness, has a severe headache and is nauseous, they should seek emergency care right away.
With skull fractures the concerns are just as serious but different.
“It’s not so much the skull fracture but the damage to the brain underneath we’d be concerned about,” said Dr. Emerman.
In Tiyler’s case she seems to be making an amazing recovery and has already been released from the hospital.
Although she said, with a frown on her face, “The 30 staples hurt.”
At the stadium, the Captains players and employees have been extremely concerned.
They started a collection, prepared gift baskets and the players will bring those gifts during a personal visit with Tiyler next Tuesday.
The team’s vice president and general manager, Brad Seymour, is also taking this time to remind people of the dangers of foul balls at any stadium.
“Foul balls are part of the game and go into the stands every game,” said Seymour. “We have an EMT on site to handle all injuries.”
To prevent incidents, there is a warning on the back of every ticket, on the back of stadium seats and the announcer reminds people periodically throughout the game.
Seymour said, “You know, any time a child’s involved I think it touches all of us.”
Tiyler caught a baseball at a recent game, and she plans to keep the ball that hit her head as well.
She is also still a Captains fan but said it will be awhile before she goes to another game or sits that close to the field.
Everyone in the family knows just how lucky they are to have Tiyler safe and sound back at home.
“It could’ve killed her,” said Tristan Lawson. “It could’ve paralyzed her. She could’ve been unable to speak. We’re lucky it didn’t happen.”
Unfortunately, Tristan said the family does not have medical insurance right now because she just changed jobs and was in the process of applying for COBRA.
A fundraiser has been arranged for Sept. 6, at 6:30 p.m. at Stadium Bar & Grill in Mentor.
Donations for the Tiyler McNeely medical fund can also be made at any Dollar Bank branch.