A college baseball team in Pennsylvania is being hailed as heroes for batting up to save the life of a 22-month-old boy.
The Millersville University baseball team had just arrived in Johnstown, Pa., for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Tournament around 12:30 a.m., on May 7, when seven of the players went out for snack.
As they walked from their hotel to the nearby Sheetz convenience store, the players spotted a speeding car that quickly came to a halt as a mom and dad pulled their child out, screaming for help.
“They were yelling, ‘Our baby is choking. He’s having a seizure,’” third baseman Tyler McDonald, 21, told ABCNews.com.
As the players ran towards the child, later identified as 22-month-old Braydin Norman, they saw the mom giving him chest compressions. McDonald, however, remembered from a health class he took in his freshman year of high school that was not correct and told her to stop.
“I told her we needed to do the stuff leading up to it,” McDonald recalled. “I took the father’s jacket and propped it under Braydin’s head and told the mom to put her finger in his mouth to move his tongue to clear the airways.”
Zach Stone, a first baseman, grabbed Braydin’s hand to check his pulse while catcher Dave Pine, called 911 for an ambulance.
Thanks to McDonald’s quick actions to clear Braydin’s airways, after about 30 seconds, the boy opened his eyes.
“He was able to squeeze Zach’s hand and was responsive,” McDonald said. “We shone a light in his eye to keep him awake and kept talking to him until the ambulance came.”
The Millersville players stood back and watched as paramedics further stabilized Braydin and took him to a nearby hospital. They went on to Sheetz and played in the tournament as scheduled, but Braydin’s family did not forget their actions.
Since they did not exchange phone numbers or even names during the tense rescue, Braydin’s family had only a rubber bracelet with the team’s logo given to them by a player as they boarded the ambulance. They used the bracelet logo to search the team on Google and find them on Twitter and Facebook.
Without computers at the tournament, however, the players did not respond. It was only two days later, as they were warming up for a game against Slippery Rock University on May 9, that the players would see the results of their heroic actions.
The team’s second baseman, Evan King, glanced over to the fence during the team’s warm-up and saw a happy and healthy Braydin watching the team with his parents, Shane and Megan Morgan.
“It was pretty sweet to see him out with a smile on his face and just loving life,” McDonald said. “I can’t find words for it.”
The Normans, whom McDonald described as “happy” and “emotional,” cheered the team on to a victory. They updated the team that the little boy whose life they saved is now doing well, recovered from the virus and 104 degree temperature that doctors believe sent him into a seizure that night.
McDonald, a business management major, still keeps in touch with Megan Norman on Facebook and says the reality of what he and his teammates did for the Norman family is still sinking in.
“We didn’t tell anyone about it or realize how much of a good thing it was,” he said. “We did it and we had to get refocused on baseball because we had a game to win.”
“The more we think about it, it puts things into perspective, that there’s more to life than just baseball.”