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Donate to San Diego player critically injured by flying bat at gay softball tournament

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Mike Petracca fractured his skull during the freak accident and his friends have rallied to his cause.

Mike Petracca
Mike Petracca

A medical fund has been established to help a San Diego man critically injured when he was hit by a flying aluminum softball bat while participating last weekend in the gay-oriented Sin City Shootout in Las Vegas.

Mike Petracca, 28 and himself gay, is in intensive care with a skull fracture and brain swelling. A Go Fund Me campaign has been established with the goal of raising $25,000 for long-term medical needs (update: the goal is now $50,000). As of this writing, $25,000 has been raised. He is a member of the Firestorm in San Diego's gay softball league.

Brian Burnett, who created the fund-raising campaign, gave these details on the accident and the prognosis for Petracca:

Here is some information regarding our dear friend, brother, son, and all-around special person, Mike Petracca. Mike is a vibrant, 28-year old native San Diegan with a heart of pure gold. He loves sports and is an avid and accomplished athlete, with baseball being his primary passion. He attends as many home Padres games as possible each season, whether they are winning or losing, and knows more baseball statistics than anyone rightfully should.

Mike was in Las Vegas for a softball tournament. He played two games that morning, making a sparkling double-play in the first inning of the first game, driving in a couple key runs with clutch hits, and encouraging his teammates as a positive influence in the dugout. The team won both games and everyone had a really good feeling about the team's chances to go deep into the tournament draw ... possibly even winning the whole thing.

Before the third game, however, tragedy struck. While walking between the fields with his teammates and waiting for the next game to begin, Mike was struck in the head with a softball bat that had been accidentally released during a batter's swing on a nearby field. The bat flew back over a low fence nearly 40 feet and hit him on the left temple area. He immediately collapsed to the ground, striking his head on the asphalt. It is the very definition of a freak accident, as bats rarely leave a batter's hands in softball and no one at the fields could ever recall seeing a bat leave the field of play, let alone strike another person.

Mike suffered a skull fracture and swelling of the brain. Following immediate brain surgery to relieve the swelling and repair the fracture, the MRI results showed some damage to the left side of the brain where the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes meet, specifically Broca's area. This is the part of the brain for speech production. At this time, he is unable to talk clearly (he comprehends, and wants to talk but can't get the words out). This isn't something that can be fixed with surgery or other medical procedures, so we'll have to see how it heals with time and therapy. He also has right side muscle weakness/lack of control that will hopefully get better with time, and he has some lower facial paralysis will hopefully heal when the swelling subsides as well.

Mike is still in critical condition in the ICU of a Las Vegas hospital. Once Mike is able, he will be transported back to California, where he will go directly into a managed care facility to make sure he's stabilized and further tend to his care.

Mike, his family, and friends are trying to maintain a positive outlook on this tragic situation, but the reality is that Mike has already incurred massive medical bills resulting from the injury. While insurance will certainly cover a large portion of these immediate expenses, the road ahead could be a long and arduous one, with a lot of therapy. The long-term outlook for how much of that can or will be covered is much less clear. Mike deserves the best possible care going forward and we are determined to smooth the road ahead as much as possible. Thus, any contributions made to this fundraising effort will be forwarded to Mike's trust account, where non-covered costs related to his care and recovery will be the only priority.

Go here to donate. Medical care, especially for an injury like this, can be very costly, even for people with insurance and it's wonderful to see so many people stepping up to the plate so far.

Update: A local San Diego TV station has reported on the story: