Tragedy struck San Diego when a 16-year-old died on his birthday after suffering a freak incident in which he was struck in the chest with a softball during high school gym class.
As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune and Ramona Sentinel, among other sources, Ramona (Ca.) High sophomore Taylor Dorman was struck in the chest with a softball while competing in a game of "Over the Line," a competition which is apparently a sort of modified version of baseball or softball.
Roughly 20 minutes after Dorman was hit with the ball he collapsed while walking across the school's football field. While he was quickly treated on the site, the teen was stabilized but couldn't be completely revived, eventually passing away hours later after being airlifted to a nearby medical center. The Union-Tribune reports that Dorman was in ventricular fibriliation when paramedics arrived and was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat at the hospital.
From the U-T:
According to the Mayo Clinic, ventricular fibrillation causes the heart to stop pumping blood, which cuts off blood supply to vital organs. It is often triggered by a heart attack.
The accident was made all the more tragic in that it occurred on the same day that Dorman was celebrating his 16th birthday, and that his collapse apparently came out of nowhere. While the teen was apparently taken aback by the initial impact of the softball, he showed no signs of being in serious injury in the immediate aftermath of the strike.
The Union-Tribune reported that he even joked with the student who hit the ball that struck him in the chest only minutes before he collapsed for the final time.
Dorman was remembered as one of Ramona's most beloved students by peers who held a candlelight vigil in his memory after word of his death spread. As one might expect, those on site to remember the teen were still struggling to come to grips with his sudden passing.
“He’s just been like everyone’s brother and best friend, caring and thoughtful," fellow 16-year-old Ramona student Ella Evans told the Union-Tribune. "Just being around him was the best part. The way he’d flip his long hair.”
Added another schoolmate, Shay Huntsman:
“... he was funny, sweet. ... He loved to help everybody. He’s like a big bear. Everyone loved to hug him.”