4-year-old hit by ball during Suns game released from hospital

By Jennifer Waugh, The Morning Show anchor, investigative reporter, jwaugh@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 14 2014 02:25:36 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 15 2014 12:05:17 AM EDT

The 4 year old Jacksonville boy badly injured during a Suns baseball game, has been released from the hospital. He had to have emergency surgery to repair his skull and the bone above his eye. Jennifer Waugh spoke with his parents about his prognosis.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Noah Stotler said he's feeling good. Actually, he shouted it on "The Morning Show" on Monday.

The 4-year-old was released from the hospital Saturday, nine days after being rushed into surgery.

"You just pray for another day to hold your son's hand. The only reason I have this beard is because my little man rubs it and says, 'I love you, Daddy. I love you, Daddy," said Noah's dad, Brian Stotler, who waited anxiously while his son underwent surgery.

Noah and his dad were sitting near third base on July 5 at a Jacksonville Suns game when a foul ball flew straight at them. Brian wasn't sure if the ball even hit his son. Noah didn't cry; he wasn't bleeding. He seemed fine, his father said.

"I had the medics check him out, just to make sure. They didn't find anything (wrong)," said Brian.

Brian had a red mark on his leg with the imprint of the stitches from the baseball, which made him think the ball had hit him and not his son.

It wasn't until later that night when Noah started throwing up that they realized something was wrong. They rushed him to a clinic near their home. 

Doctors did a CT scan and discovered Noah had fractured his skull. He was rushed into surgery at Wolfson Children's Hospital. 

"The orbital bone is fractured above his eye, so that has to heal on its own, and he has four titanium plates in his forehead and they're not real concerned about that. The bone will just grow over that," said Debbie Stotler, Noah's mother.

She said even though Noah's right eye was swollen shut, his eyesight is fine.

Doctors have told them Noah needs to rest at home after suffering a concussion.

"That's going to be hard," said Debbie, smiling at her son. "On the way home from the hospital, Noah wanted to know when he could go swimming, but he can't do that for a month."

Brian said his son wanted to watch baseball on TV on Sunday and kept asking when they were going to be able to hit some balls in the yard.

What's Noah's favorite thing about baseball?

"Hitting home runs," he said.

Point blank, Noah said, "God saved me." His father said ever since Noah was 2 years old, he's always wanted to be a preacher.

Noah was looking down at his father's phone when he was hit in the right forehead. It was the 12th inning of the game and Noah wanted to stay to see who would win and to see the fireworks.

Had he not been looking down, his father said doctors have told him Noah would likely have been permanently injured. His father estimates the ball was going at least 100 mph when it hit Noah.

Several Suns players visited the 4-year-old in the hospital.

Noah wants to attend another game as soon as he's better.

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