A New Jersey boy's 2006 baseball injury resulted in a $14.5 million settlement this week. Steven Domalewski was pitching when a batter using an aluminum bat hit a line drive that struck him in the chest, stopped his heart, and caused serious brain damage, reports AP. The family sued bat maker Louisville Slugger, Little League Baseball for sanctioning the bats, and a sports retailer for selling them. The family maintained that baseballs come off aluminum bats much faster than wooden bats.
Steven is 18 now and making progress, but still requires near-constant supervision. One bright side is that major strides have been made in youth baseball since the incident, reports the Bergen Record. Some high school baseball teams are using a new type of aluminum bat with a smaller "sweet spot," meaning balls bounce off it more slowly. Leagues are demanding first-aid training for all coaches, and volunteer safety squads have appeared at tournaments. "Safety has become a top issue," a safety officer tells the paper. "We’re trying to bring safety in Little League baseball into the new millennium."