The parents of a Texas Little League Baseball player are suing the organization for more than $1 million, claiming their son was injured with an "unlicensed" and "altered" metal bat during a Little League game.
Emmett Parsutt Sr. and Elena Parsutt filed suit on behalf of their son, Emmett Parsutt Jr., who they say was hit in the head by a baseball that was hit by a member of an opposing team using an altered metal bat, the Houston Chronicle reports. The incident occurred on July 1 during the fifth inning of a regional championship game between the Santa Fe Little League All Stars and the League City Little League All Stars in Texas City.
Emmett, the starting pitcher for the Santa Fe Little League All Stars, was knocked to the ground after a line drive struck him in the head. The ball hit him with "tremendous force -- far beyond that of a regulation bat -- and injured him," the suit states.
If the metal bat was altered in any way, it would be a violation of league rules, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The ball reportedly ricocheted off Emmett’s head and went over a 20-foot fence about 100 feet away. Emmett was taken to a local hospital by ambulance and continues to suffer from headaches, Chance McMillan, the Parsutts' attorney, said.
Shortly after the incident, a parent took the bat in question and hid it in his car. Eventually, authorities retrieved the bat and sent it to the League City Little League offices. Tests performed on the bat showed it wasn't shaved to enhance performance, KHOU reports.
McMillan disagrees with the organization’s findings. "We have concerns that the bat sent (for testing) may not have been the bat used," the attorney said.
The metal bat, an Easton 2012 XL1, was called into question before the game even started. Parents, coaches and fans “expressed their opinions to the umpires” that the bat had been physically altered and posed a safety risk, according to court documents. At the time, an umpire examined the bat and deemed it “fit for play.”
According to Little League Baseball’s 2013 list of approved bats, the Easton 2012 XL1 was added on July 28, 2012.
Beginning in the 1970s, aluminum bats became a baseball mainstay. Unlike wooden bats, metal ones are hollow, making them easier to swing, which can increase the batted ball's speed by up to 35 percent.
This isn’t the first time a Little League Baseball player has been injured by a ball hit off a metal bat. In August, a New Jersey teenager was left brain dead after being struck in the head by a line drive off a metal bat. He received a $14.5 million settlement from Little League Baseball, the bat manufacturer and a sporting goods chain, the Associated Press reports.
Steven Domalewski, also a youth pitcher, was hit by a ball in the chest, which caused a heart attack and left him with permanent brain damage. ''Pretty much, he died,'' his father, Joseph Domalewski, said in a 2008 interview with the AP. ''It was just so fast. The thud, you could hear. When it hit him, that seemed to echo.''