Walker Johnson Walks Away Fromm Terrifying Baseball Injury
Back in April, 13-year old Walker Johnson suffered a terrifying freak injury while pitching for his little league team in Houston, Texas. Johnson was struck in the chest with a line drive in the fifth inning. The ball struck him in such a way that it actually stopped his heartbeat for 30 seconds.
The condition is called commotio cordis or aborted sudden cardiac death, and it usually occurs in children who have had heart problems in the past. However, it can happen to anyone, even children who have had no history of heart problems, if a projectile strikes the person’s chest as it did Johnson’s. First the speed of the projectile must be in the 30- to 50-mile per hour range, the impact of injury must be right over the heart on the left side of the chest, and the projectile must hit the heart within a 10- to 30-millisecond window in the cardiac cycle to create the characteristic abnormal rhythm. All of which appear to have happened in Johnson’s case.
Usually defibrillation is needed within minutes of the impact to restore a heart beat, but there was not one on hand on the field. Luckily Walker’s heart was able to manage without it. An incredible feat.
Walker’s mom has since started GoFundMe to raise money to buy defibrillators for schools and athletic leagues.
Walker was immediately taken to the hospital where he was then transferred to Texas Children’s hospital where he stayed for six days.
He is out of the hospital now and on the road to recovery, but he is not out of the woods yet. He is on medication to prevent an irregular heartbeat and to help the bruise on his heart, and he cannot play sports for some time.
But Johnson is certainly in high spirits as he says he can’t wait to get back on the baseball field and don’t think he is afraid of getting hit again, He says “The only thing I’m scared about is not being able to succeed… I’m just afraid of not being able to play what I want, or do what I want to.”
Get better soon Walker!