A Virginia baseball player was saved when his teammate administered CPR moments after he was struck in the chest by a baseball.
The Manassas baseball team was practicing for the Southeast Regional Tournament on July 14 when the catcher threw the ball and hit Steve Smith directly in the chest, according to Steve's father Tim.
"His heart stopped immediately," Smith said, who is also the team's coach. "When you get struck in the chest and there is about three hundredths of a second in between each heartbeat and basically if you are hit by something in that time, at the right speed, it stops your heart."
Smith said the whole team ran toward his son as he collapsed on the field.
"When I got to him he was stiff, like his body was trying to breathe but his eyes were rolled back in his head, and he wasn't responding," Smith recalled. "He was basically gone, I guess. He wouldn't wake up, he wouldn't respond. I was shaking him, trying to get him to take a breath. I yelled, 'Does anyone know CPR?'"
That's when Paul Dow, 17, came forward and immediately started performing CPR. Meanwhile, a parent on the sidelines called 911.
Smith said he was "walking around trying to stay calm, but not doing a very good job" as Paul performed CPR on his son.
Eventually Smith put his son and Paul, who was still performing CPR, in the back of his truck and drove them to the parking lot, where an ambulance arrived soon after.
EMS workers pulled out a defibrillator and were able to restart Steve's heart. Smith said 12 minutes had lapsed between the time Paul began administering CPR and when emergency workers successfully revived Steve.
Steve was then airlifted to a trauma hospital in Fairfax, where he stayed over the weekend, remaining mostly unconscious.
Smith said his son woke up on Sunday asking, "What's for breakfast?" and "What am I doing here?" He had no memory of what happened to him.
"If you look at him you'd never know that anything happened. He has a hole in his neck where they put the tube and a few nicks on his arms but other than that he doesn't have a scratch on his body," Smith said. "It's a miracle."
Paul, a close friend of the Smiths, learned CPR to become a lifeguard at the local pool. He received his certification just a few months ago.
Smith said his son's recovery was a miracle.
"Thanks be to God that Paul was there to give the CPR because there would have been brain damage at the very least if he didn't get air. God has his hand on it the whole way," Smith said."
He added that another family friend, who is a retired firefighter, was inspired to start a CPR class in the community after Steve's near-death experience. "There is so much good coming out of this, for the little bit of suffering we did, so much good is coming out of it," Smith said.