Should lightweight aluminum bats be used in Little League games?
The family of a Wayne, N.J., boy who sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being hit by a ball during a game in 2006 doesn’t think so.
A trial on the issue has been set for Sept. 10 in state Superior Court in Paterson, N.J., according to The Record. The case stems from a 2008 lawsuit filed against the manufacturer of Louisville Slugger bats, a sports-gear retailer and a youth baseball organization.
Steven Domalewski was pitching in a Little League game in June 2006 when he was struck in the chest by a line drive hit by a Louisville Slugger aluminum bat, which is hollow. Domalewski, then 12, was 45 away from the batter on the pitcher’s mound, according to The Record.
The impact of the ball stopped Domalewski’s heart, and as a result his brain didn’t have oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes, the local newspaper reported. The youth was hospitalized for more then eights months and is now “severely handicapped,” according to The Record.
Opponents of aluminum bats argue that baseballs hit by the lightweight bats travel much faster than those hit with a wood bat, and therefore pose a safety hazard and shouldn’t be used in youth games, according to to The Record.
Steven’s family’s lawsuit named a number of defendants, including: bat maker Hillerich & Bradsby Co.; The Sports Authority Inc.; Little League Inc.; and the New Jersey Little League. According to The Record, the suit alleged that the bat wasn’t adequately tested and was unsafe.
The defendants turned around and filed suit against the Wayne Police Athletic League (PAL), trying to bring it in as a third-party defendant, The Record reported. They alleged that PAL didn’t offer proper first aid. But Superior Court Judge Garry Rothstadt took PAL out of the lawsuit.
Domalewski is still doing physical therapy, and had been able to walk a bit, assisted by his father Joseph.