Zachary Hoffman, a fourteen-year-old boy who suffered a permanent head damage while he was in a youngster’s league game only a day before he celebrates his 12th birthday, was awarded a $1.7-million dollar settlement. The suit was placed against two Athletic Associations and a borough. Zachary received the settlement after a foul ball hit him while he was in a dugout at Chadwick field in Sewickley on April 13th, 2015 leaving him with long-term brain damage.
The incident spurred a debate on whether the playground for children is safe anymore. The incident brings the memory of the 4-year-old who was shot in the head in a Bronx playground in 2012.
Zachary was seated in the bunker at the first base watching his friends bat when the ball passed through an opening in the fence (between where the bunker begins and backstop ends) and struck him on the left side of the head. Zachary sustained a head injury, had a fractured skull and was bleeding intensely in his brain which caused permanent brain damage. In a lawsuit filed on March 2016, Zachary had to change schools and could not attend school on a daily basis due to the symptoms.
“He woke up a different person, his personality totally changed.” Alan Perer said.
Alan Perer, Zachary’s attorney according to the Little League safety the dugout should be properly protected by a fence at all fields across the country. An Allegheny County jury found Sewickley borough and Quaker Valley and the Avonworth Athletic Associations culpable for the injuries sustained by Zachary as a result of not putting in place safety measures. One week after Zachary’s incident the dugout was fenced.
“They knew about it and nobody did anything about it” Mr. Perer told the Jury.
“Everyone at Little League International is heartbroken when we learn of injuries like this and, sadly, this injury did occur within a little league program.” this is a statement issued by Little League spokesman Kevin Fountain.”Because the local program does not carry the insurance cover offered by Little League International, which requires reporting injuries and/or accidents, we were unaware of this unfortunate incident prior to today. Our thoughts are with the boy and his family.” He concluded.