PAYETTE, Idaho – A 15-year-old Idaho baseball player is in recovery after an accident at practice resulted in a fracture to his skull.
Kodee Bennett was flown to a Boise hospital for emergency brain surgery Friday night after the Payette High School freshman collided with a teammate on the baseball field.
The second baseman sprinted to catch a pop fly in shallow right field. As a teammate approached, Bennett dove for the ball.
“He was going out hard and my right fielder was coming in hard,” coach Tracy Bratcher told KBOI-TV. “Kodee laid out for the ball and our right fielder saw it and tried to hop over him and kind of caught him with his knee.”
The audible impact cracked his skull, the team later learned.
“It sounded like a ball hitting a wood bat,” Payette senior catcher Austin Stricker told the Idaho Statesman. “It was pretty gnarly.”
Doctors found bleeding in Bennett’s brain, and he underwent three hours of surgery. A metal plate was inserted into his skull.
The next morning Bennett was alert and speaking.
“Nobody can believe that he’s alive, let alone doing the things that he’s doing,” Mindy Mordhorst said, his mother.
Bennett’s recovery has been faster than expected as he beat every timetable set by his doctors, Mordhorst said. He was discharged from the hospital and returned home Monday afternoon.
While the teen won’t be playing ball for the rest of this spring or summer, Mordhorst said Bennett can walk, talk and move around freely. He still tires easily and has some paralysis on the left side of his face, but he’s improving daily, she said.
Bennett is planning to be sitting behind home plate as the Payette Pirates look to enter the district championship this week.
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