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Petaluma Little Leaguer seriously injured by batted ball

The sound was something Brendan O'Neill's parents, teammates and coaches will never forget.

A stinging line drive to the 12-year-old's forehead during a Petaluma National Little League game on Tuesday night made an almost indescribable smacking sound.

O'Neill, a pitcher, fell immediately to the ground, writhing in pain, his skull fractured and his nose broken and bloodied. The game — an extra-innings nail biter — became an afterthought as Brendan's father, coaches and an umpire who is a paramedic rushed to the mound.

On Friday, Brendan remained hospitalized in Oakland with serious facial injuries, his parents Dennis and Leslie at his side. He answered the phone in the ICU on Friday before passing it to his parents. He is on pain medication and too much activity wears him out, they said.

The ball struck Brendan "square between the eyes," said League President Anthony Lackey.

Brendan suffered a broken nose and multiple fractures to his forehead, but did not lose consciousness. His eye sockets are intact and there is no swelling of his brain. Four days later, his eyes remained too swollen to open.

"I think it's going to be OK," his mother said Friday from the hospital. "They're managing his pain right now. They are just making sure that everything is good before they go in to repair the fractures."

At first, both parents thought Brendan caught the ball.

"Brendan is fast," said his mother. "He turned in that split second and I thought it just skimmed his face. But there definitely was a noise, a sound. And that was probably one of the scariest things."

"It was very scary," said Jesse Moore, the coach of Brendan's EMG team of 11- and 12-year-olds.


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