Here's something positive for you: A 21-month-old western Pennsylvania boy is likely still alive because of some quick thinking by a group of college baseball players who went for a late-night food run.
The Millersville (Pa.) Marauders, a Division II team, were in Johnstown, Pa., last week for their conference tournament. Sometime after midnight, as Tuesday night became Wednesday morning, seven players walked to a local convenience store for some snacks. It was raining. As they neared the store, a car pulled up. The vehicle's occupants were screaming. A man got out. He was holding a small child. The child looked "limp," according to Zach Stone, Millersville's third baseman.
Dave Pine, 20, a catcher, said, "He was screaming and yelling, 'My son is choking! He's having a seizure! Somebody help!' "
The man was Shane Norman. The woman he was with was his wife, Megan, who is eight months pregnant. The child was their son, Braydin, a toddler. The Normans, who live in Johnstown, which is about 65 miles east of Pittsburgh, were rushing Braydin to the hospital because he had a temperature of 104.3. Along the way, the child had a seizure. He became unresponsive.
“He was real stiff, taking a seizure,” the mother said. “He ended up vomiting and choking on it. … His head was thrown back and his eyes were in the back of his head. He had gone limp and quit breathing.”
Megan Norman said that she started to dial 9-1-1, but in her haste to help her son, she dropped her phone and never completed the call.
Megan Norman started giving Braydin CPR on the ground outside the car. The players came over to help. Tyler McDonald, a redshirt sophomore third baseman, had learned CPR in high school. He told Shane Norman to remove his jacket and to place it under Braydin's head to open his airway. He also instructed Megan to move Braydin's tongue so it wouldn't prevent him from breathing. Stone grabbed the boy's arm to check for a pulse and to see if Braydin could squeeze it. Pine called 911.
The other players—Evan King, Tyler Orris, Dan Stoltzfus, Tyler Thomas—huddled around to keep the rain from falling on the mother and child. Within minutes, Braydin opened his eyes. Megan would say later the players' assistance "made all the difference in the world."
Shane and Megan Norman said they had learned CPR a long time ago, but that in their panic they had forgotten some of the details. The players stuck around with the family until an ambulance arrived, doing what they could to distract Braydin to keep him calm. Just before Braydin was loaded onto the ambulance, Thomas slipped a Millersville baseball bracelet onto the child's wrist. It was the only clue that later allowed the family to remember who the players were.
The doctors were able to get Braydin's condition under control. They told Shane and Megan a virus had caused his temperature to spike so suddenly. On Friday, the family went to the ballpark. A few of the Millersville players saw them standing near a fence along the first-base line. The players came over to greet them. Photos were taken. Braydin would later be given a signed baseball.
Millersville's coach, Jon Shehan, had not been told what happened until he saw all the fuss.
"I said, 'Who are you getting your picture taken with?' " said Jon Shehan, of Ephrata, who is the father of two small children, including a son about Braydin's age. "I don't think they understood what they did, and how significant it's going to be for that little boy's life. They were surprisingly humble and nonchalant."