11-Year-Old Ball Player Suffers Cardiac Arrest During Game

Sunday, April 22nd 2007, 4:25 pm

By: News On 6

A young Broken Arrow baseball player nearly dies on the ball field. Eleven-year-old Michael Slatcher was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon, only three days after he went into cardiac arrest on the field. The News On 6’s Chris Wright reports health care professionals say Michael Slatcher is lucky to be alive.

Things were back to normal on Sunday at the Indian Springs Sports Complex in Broken Arrow. On Thursday, during a routine play, a medical anomaly occurred. After being struck with a baseball bat, catcher Michael Slatcher's went into cardiac arrest.

"God was really looking out for this child," said Broken Arrow firefighter and paramedic Will Vaughn.

Will Vaughn was one of the paramedics who responded after Michael collapsed. He says the blunt impact of the ball to the chest caused a sudden disturbance to the rhythm of the boy's heart. That disturbance in turn caused heart failure.

Broken Arrow paramedics say what happened last Thursday was so rare that none of them have ever even seen it before. They also say it is incredibly rare that anybody survives this type of cardiac arrest.

"There's only about a 10% survivability rate with this particular injury, only because you need to get there and shock the heart within the first 10 minutes," Vaughn said.

Vaughn credits two bystanders with helping to save Michael's life. He says Dr. Athena Mason, and off-duty paramedic Robert Gordon performed CPR until his team arrived. The paramedics then shocked Michael back to life with a defibrillator. Without that immediate CPR though, Vaughn does not believe Michael would have survived.

While rare, he hopes what happened Thursday will prompt more people to enroll in training courses.

"All coaches and all referees and umpires, to be trained in CPR would help if this were ever to happen again," said Vaughn.

For cardiac arrest to occur the blunt trauma to the chest must happen during a specific 30 millisecond window during a single heartbeat. Experts say that is why cases like Michael's are so rare.

Michael’s family tells The News On 6 he’s resting comfortably at home. They say the first thing the 11-year-old asked when he regained consciousness was 'Did we win the game?'

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