An 8-year-old boy who collapsed after being struck in the chest by a baseball over the weekend escaped death thanks to the quick action of a pair of off-duty paramedics.
According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, the boy, who has not been named, was hit by a pitch during a baseball game in Rohnert Park, Calif., on Saturday.
"I was right behind the plate and this kid got hit in the heart with the ball," Trenton Starrett, the 14-year-old umpire at the game, told ABC News affiliate KGO. "He went to first, he tripped once, and he got back up, and then fell again, and then he didn't get back up."
Medical experts speculate that the child had experienced ventricular fibrillation, caused by commotio cordis ("agitation of the heart" in Latin).
"It's thought that if the ball or projectile hits his chest wall at the right spot at the right timing of the heart, it causes arrhythmia," Dr. Nicholas Kman, associate professor of emergency medicine at the Ohio State University Medical Center, told ABC News. "This happens in a normal heart, not a structurally impaired heart."
Fortunately for the 8-year-old, Dan and Susan Farren, parents and paramedics who had been watching the game, sprung into action when they saw him crumple to the ground. The Farrens reportedly performed CPR on the boy until an emergency crew arrived with a defibrillator to kick-start his heart.
The Farrens' CPR efforts took "over for the heart and continue[d] to pump blood through his body and into his brain," Aaron Johnson, director of the youth baseball league, told the Press Democrat.
According to a post on the baseball league's Facebook page, the "boy regained a pulse and began breathing" after being shocked by the defibrillator.
"He was quickly transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he was further stabilized and then flown to Children’s Hospital in Oakland," the post continued. The child is now said to be in "stable" condition.
“God had his hand on this kid's heart,” Johnson told the Press Democrat, adding that the Farrens had been dubbed "heroes" by the boy's parents.