Amid the Little League World Series, a former youth player left brain-damaged by a ball hit off a metal bat in 2006 received a $14.5 million lawsuit settlement. One of the defendants was Little League.
Word of the settlement for Steven Domalewski, now 18, of Wayne, N.J., emerged Wednesday from New Jersey state Superior Court in Passaic County. Family lawyer Ernest Fronzuto told the Associated Press that the money gives the family "some relief and comfort that Steven will get the care he needs for the rest of his life."
Domalewski, while able to speak a little and walk with assistance, is nearly blind and remains in a wheelchair, the Record reported. The family's lawyers will receive $698,035 of the payout in fees, plus $4,037,991 in a deal to collect 25 percent of the settlement, the paper added.
In 2006, Domalewski, playing pitcher, was struck by a line drive off a metal bat in a Police Athletic League game. The ball hit him in the chest between heartbeats, leading to cardiac arrest. Reports estimate that Domalewski was without oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes. The suit contended that the metal bat generated a more dangerous ball velocity than a wooden bat, news outlets reported.
Little League was named in the lawsuit because the organization certifies that metal bats are safe, noted the AP. The Sports Authority and Hillerich and Bradsby, makers of the Louisville Slugger, also were named in the lawsuit.
In February, 12-year-old Tyler Kopp was hit in the chest by a ball during a lacrosse game in Rochester, N.Y., and died. Similar tragedies in lacrosse have been attributed to a rare phenomenon called commotio cordis, in which a focused impact near the heart causes an abnormal heart rhythm, uslacrosse.org wrote.
Domalewski's case was set to go to trial Sept. 10 until the agreement was reached, said the Record.