|Texas Parents Sue Little League for $1M|
|By CHRISTINA NG (@ChristinaNg27)||Jul 18, 2013, 10:52 AM|
Twelve-year-old Emmett Parsutt Jr. was the starting pitcher in a pivotal game for the Santa Fe All-Stars of Texas City, Texas. The contest would determine whether his team advanced to the regional championship in Pearland, Texas.
But the July 1 game ended in the fifth inning for Emmett when a line drive off an opposing player's bat smashed into his head, knocking him to the ground. His team later lost the game.
"The ball ricocheted off Emmett's head and went over a 20-foot fence approximately 100 feet away," according to the lawsuit his family has filed against Little League Baseball of South Williamsport, Pa., and its local affiliate League City Little League.
Emmett was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and his family said he is still suffering from the hit.
"He still has headaches. His eyes have been twitching," his mother, Elena Parsutt, told ABCNews.com today. "He has trouble sleeping from time to time.
"It makes me tearful to talk about it."
Emmett's parents, Emmett Parsutt Sr. and Elena Parsutt, allege that the bat used by the opposing team, the League City All-Stars, was altered. Little League has precise specifications and standards for the bats, as outlined on its website, which has a licensed bat list.
The Parsutts are suing Little League Baseball for $1 million, alleging negligence that includes "failure to have policies and procedures to ensure players' safety" and "failure to have policies and procedures in place to investigate the use of unlicensed (or altered) baseball bats."
"Concern arose prior to the start of the championship game over one of the League City All-star team's metal bats," the lawsuit states. "Fans, parents, and coaches expressed their opinions to the umpires that League City All-stars were using an unlicensed bat."
Following protocol, the umpire looked over the bat and deemed it fit for play, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges that the bat was quickly whisked away by a parent from the opposing team.
"While Santa Fe parents and coaches rushed to Emmett's aide, a parent (non-coach) of one of the League City All-stars came out of the stands and onto the field to retrieve the allegedly altered bat," the lawsuit states. "The parent then took the bat, walked to the parking lot, and locked it in his car."
When people demanded to see the bat, the parent allegedly refused and Texas City Police were called. The bat remained with the League City team and a bat was sent off for testing, according to the lawsuit.
League City Little League could not be reached for comment but Little League Baseball said in a statement, "The parents of the boy who used the bat in question voluntarily sent it to Little League headquarters in South Williamsport, Pa., so that senior officials could investigate the allegations that the inside of the bat was shaved."
"After a thorough examination of the bat, and consulting with the bat's manufacturer, we are confident that the inside of the bat has not been shaved in an attempt to enhance its performance," the organization said.
The Parsutts' attorney, Chance McMillan, said that the bat that was sent for testing could have been replaced by an unaltered bat.
"Little League is a game that's modeled on professional baseball, but it's not professional baseball," McMillan said. "The bases are much closer. The pitcher's mound is 20 feet closer than the pros and they use metal bats. A bat is really dangerous. When it's altered in pro baseball, people get suspended for 50 games."
Emmett is scheduled to see a neurologist soon and his doctor said he can't participate in sports for at least the next six months, according to McMillan.