A 16-year-old boy who was playing shortstop during a youth team practice died after being hit in the chest with a baseball.
Bruce Edgerley collapsed Wednesday after being hit with a line drive, said Beaufort County Coroner Curt Copeland. Emergency medical service personnel were on the scene within two minutes and attempted to revive the boy, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Beaufort Memorial Hospital.Copeland said Edgerley may not have been paying attention to the batter because the infield was also throwing the ball around during the practice. He did not identify the batter.
The boy's death was ruled accidental. Copeland said he did not yet know the exact cause of death or whether an autopsy would be performed.
A 1986 study by the U.S. Product Safety Commission documented nearly two dozen cases in which youths died after being hit in the chest with baseballs.
The study was initiated after an earlier study found that nearly half of recent baseball-related deaths among children ages 4 to 14 were from baseballs striking the chest. The panel recommended requiring pitchers and batters to wear chest protectors.
Last month, Little League officials said three Little Leaguers in 30 years have died in similar incidents.
"These were isolated incidents - freak things. To take drastic measures seems inappropriate," said Steve Keener, national spokesman for Little League baseball.