JACKSONVILLE (CBS Tampa) – A 4-year-old boy is recovering after being hit in the face by a baseball at a minor league game.

Noah Stotler was in the stands of the Jacksonville Suns game on July 5th when he was hit in the forehead by a line drive.

“All I heard was the crack of the bat, the sound of it hitting him, and that’s all I could, I couldn’t get it out of my mind,” said Brian Stotler, Noah’s dad told WJXT-TV.

At first there was no sign of a serious injury, but Noah’s dad took him home anyway. But then the boy started vomiting and speaking in ways that didn’t make sense, so his dad took him to the emergency clinic.

“You begin to immediately say, ‘Why was it not me? Why could the ball not have hit me?'” Brian said. “And you realize how tender and soft and fragile a 4-year-old child is. Could he survive this?”

A CT scan showed bleeding in the brain, so Noah was rushed to Wolfson Children’s Hospital for surgery.

“I can be honest, while I was sitting in there for those three hours, it certainly went through my mind that he could come back and say everything is not OK,” said Debby Stotler, Noah’s mom.

Noah suffered an epidural brain hematoma, shattered forehead and an orbital roof bone fracture on his right eye.

“The doctor told us that if he had been looking up and watching if the ball would have hit him in the face, the outcome would have been very different,” Brian said.

Doctors say the boy’s vision should return to normal.

Players from the Suns and the Jacksonville Jaquars visited Noah in the hospital.

“I just told him God has greater plans for you and you’re not going anywhere, you are staying with us for a while,” Debby said.

His dad says Noah’s first question at the hospital was who won the game. The Suns beat the Chattanooga Lookouts 3-2 that night.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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