Baseball Player Opens Up About His Brush With Death

Monday, April 23rd 2007, 8:56 pm
By: News On 6

A young baseball player talks about his near-death experience. Eleven-year-old Michael Slatcher is safe at home, four days after his heart stopped for several minutes during a ballgame. Michael Slatcher says he will follow his doctor's orders and take it easy for a few weeks, but the News On 6’s Chris Wright reports he plans on getting behind the plate again.

"It felt like I was kind of asleep when I got up and threw it," said Michael Slatcher.

He doesn't remember much about the freak accident that nearly cost him his life. While catching during a game last Thursday, Michael Slatcher was hit in the chest with a bat and a ball at the same time. Doctors now believe the impact from the bat caused sudden cardiac arrest. He somehow completed the play, throwing the ball to first before collapsing.

"The doctors have told us most times in this case, the person does not live because there is not a fast enough response time," said Michael’s father Fred Slatcher.

Luckily, the response time in this case was immediate. An off-duty paramedic and doctor were at the game and able to perform CPR. Paramedics arrived within minutes and used a defibrillator to shock him back to life. His parents, who were out of the country, did not learn about the accident until Saturday night. They say quick-thinking by those on the scene made all the difference.

"I'm very grateful, and I can't even express the feelings I have for those people who went out of their way. Their first priority was his life," said Michael’s mother Lenora Slatcher.

Released from the hospital Sunday, Michael Slatcher is home again with his five siblings. The Slatcher's living room is now filled with cards and balloons. Per doctor's orders, he is not allowed to play baseball for two weeks, but he plans to get back on the field and won't hesitate to play catcher again.

He and his family would like to see defibrillators installed at the Indian Springs Sports Complex, and he intends to do some fundraising with his baseball-shaped piggy bank.

"During those two weeks, I'm actually going to go around the fields and ask people if they would like to donate so we can get defibrillators," said Michael Slatcher.

Those defibrillators could give more kids a second lease on life. Experts say there's only about a 10% survival rate for sudden cardiac arrests like Michael Slatcher’s.

If you would like to help him raise money for a defibrillator, you can call Broken Arrow Youth Baseball at 455-2292.

Related story:

04/22/2007 11-Year-Old Ball Player Suffers Cardiac Arrest During Game