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After Foul Ball Accident, Young Fan Turns Away From Baseball12:21

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Several Charlotte Knights players and the team's mascot came to visit James David in the hospital after he was hit in the head by a line drive during a game in May 2016. (Charlotte Knights)closemore
Several Charlotte Knights players and the team's mascot came to visit James David in the hospital after he was hit in the head by a line drive during a game in May 2016. (Charlotte Knights)

On May 15, 2016, Kristy and Eddie David took their two sons, Little Eddie and James, to a Charlotte Knights minor league baseball game. Out of everyone, 6-year-old James — who had a calendar of the Knights' schedule hanging in his bedroom -- was most excited to be there.

The Davids arrived to the game early, taking their seats in the first row on the third base line. It was a perfect day for baseball.

"The weather was amazing," Eddie recalls. "Literally one of those days where the sky was blue and no clouds."

"They were awesome seats," Kristy says. "James was on the very end, so he was on the aisle seat, closest to home plate."

"And he specifically requested that seat, because, you know, he wanted to be the closest and had asked to go to the game," Eddie continues. "One of the Knights players posed for a picture with both boys, so that was kind of the experience that I was hoping that they would get."

In the fourth inning, Eddie and Little Eddie got up to use the restroom and stop by the concession stand. Kristy and James stayed in their seats. That's when it happened...

"I remember just turning my head to look at home plate because the batter was up," Kristy says. "And all of a sudden he hit the ball, and it was coming right at us. I just reached my hands up to try to stop it. So my hands were kind of over James' head. He was looking down and he was eating cotton candy at the time. And my hands didn't stop it."

The line drive had hit James in the head. Kristy rushed her son up the steps to the stadium concourse where they met the rest of the family. James never lost consciousness, and he was able to answer all the questions the ballpark medical staff asked him. But the family headed for the hospital.

There, doctors diagnosed James with a skull fracture, a concussion and internal bleeding on the right side of his brain.

"When I heard the doctor say 'skull fracture' I was floored," Eddie says. "To be completely honest with you, on the way to the hospital, I literally thought we were gonna be at the hospital for a couple hours."

James spent three days in the hospital. On the last day, his concussion symptoms started to subside. Players from the Knights organization stopped by to bring James and his brother gifts.

So far, all signs have pointed to a full recovery for James — but he says he doesn't want to go back to another baseball game.

The Davids want to see new rules from MLB that mandate protective netting all the way around the perimeter of the field. They don't want another family to go through what they went through. But some baseball purists object to netting.

"What I always tell people is sit in the intensive care unit with your child for three days and then tell me how you feel," Eddie says.

Click the play button next to the headline at the top of the page to hear the full story.

This segment aired on March 4, 2017.

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Karen Given Producer, Only A Game
Karen is a producer for WBUR's Only A Game.

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