Scary moment: Player hit in chest by pitch causing his heart to stop beating

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Player hit in chest by pitch causing his heart to stop beating, Pooja Lodhia reports. (KTRK)

The first day of July started out like any other day. Zach Frazee, 13, stepped up to bat at a scrimmage game, like he had done hundreds of times before.

But this time, a ball hit him directly over his heart. Within seconds, Zach was unconscious.

"I was dizzy and I just fell," he explained.

His parents, Kimberly and Michael, were sitting in the bleachers.

"It was the worst day of my life," Michael said. "You know you kids, when you roll them over and there's nothing there. I didn't know what to do."

Suddenly, a coach for another team raced down the stands.

"It happened so fast. I was on my hands and knees with Zach, shaking him," Michael said. "Don Sweeney just came up on my right hand side and started giving Zach CPR. 13 year old boys are all crying. Grown men are crying. Wives. This was our baseball family."

Sweeney is a former EMT. He's CPR certified, but he hasn't given it in more than twenty years.

"I feel like any decent human being would jump in and at least try something," he explained. "I happen to be trained and that was the deciding factor, but I think anybody would help a kid who was laying there."

Within minutes, Zach was awake and talking.

"I woke up and said, 'did I make it to base?'" he recalled.

After a night in the hospital, Zach learned he had experienced an extremely rare phenomenon called "commitio cordis." It's when the chest area over the heart is hit at the exact millisecond that the organ is most vulnerable as it distributes blood throughout the body.

"The angle of the ball, the speed of the ball, and his heart being in a relaxed position all had to be at the same time when it hit," explained Michael.

Zach will now be wearing a chest guard at games and practices, and his parents hope other athletes will, too.

Michael and Kimberly are also getting CPR certified. They've kept in touch with Sweeney.

"Thank you so much for saving Zach's life," Kimberly said. "You've made all the difference."
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sportsbaseballmedical emergencyDeer Park
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