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May 05, 2011 05:52 PM

Family Warns Of Aluminum Bat Dangers

Sioux Falls, SD

As weather warms, more people are drawn outside. For thousands of children in KELOLAND that means taking part in a sport.  But one family wants to share a tough message with all parents about the dangers in one of the most common youth sports.

The dangers of metal bats in baseball came to light eight years ago.  An 18-year-old pitcher in Montana was struck in the head with a baseball hit by an aluminum bat. A short time later that pitcher died.

Since then, numerous injuries and even more deaths have been linked to aluminum baseball bats. Experts say they're dangerous because baseballs hit off aluminum carry far more speed than those hit off wood. That extra speed gives players less time to react to the ball and causes a greater impact.

Trey Brown will turn twelve years old next month. He's been in Avera McKennan Hospital for ten days now. He was injured after he and some friends decided to play baseball.

"I threw the ball and when he hit it, I hit the ground really fast," Trey said.

"He came home and complained of a headache. Early Tuesday morning, he started vomiting," Trey's father, David, said.

That led the Madison, Minnesota, family to their local emergency room where it was discovered Trey had a one-and-a-half-inch brain bleed. He was then taken by helicopter and has been in Sioux Falls since.

"We were actually looking to go home last Thursday, but Thursday morning, he started having what they called looping seizures. It was one seizure after another, after another," David said.

Trey was then put into a medically induced coma.

"Of course, when I was in the coma, I didn't know nothing. I didn't know anything," Trey said.

Trey is making great improvements each day he's here in the hospital. On Monday morning, he could barely use a fork. Monday night, he was eating on his own. He also couldn't speak on Monday.  By Thursday, he was talking fine and even trying to walk out of bed on his own.

That's a little too ambitious for his doctors and parents. He'll spend three weeks to three more months in the hospital for rehabilitation and recovery. Friends from school and even the Minnesota Twins have sent him care packages and get well wishes.

"Him being in a coma a week ago to now is just a huge step. But he's got a long way to go yet," David said.

Trey would have been on a baseball team this summer. Now he can't play any sports for at least a year. By the time he returns to the diamond, this family says there's no doubt that aluminum bats should be abolished.

"If it had been a wooden bat, we probably wouldn't even be here. I would rather see aluminum bats just completely banned from youth baseball," David said.

The NCAA mandated changes to the aluminum bats used for college baseball for this season, making them more like wooden bats.

A benefit fund is set up for the family at KleinBank. A benefit event will also be held on May 20 at the Happy Hour in Madison, MN.
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