Friday, June 5, 2009

One of the Saddest Sports-Related Stories You Will Read in a While

A 12-year-old Virginia boy was killed Wednesday night while playing catch with a teammate.

Chelal Gross-Matos, who had scored the only run of the game for his Spotslyvania County Little League team, the Yankees, in the first inning, was struck by lightning not long after umpires had called the game due to the weather. According to authorities, it is believed the lightning's current then traveled to Chelal's teammate, who remained in critical condition and on a ventilator. The teammate's name was not released.

From the Washington Post article:
"'It was like a grenade,' said one of Chelal's teammates, Richard Albright, 11."

According to an interview Chelal's father, Robert Matos, gave to WJLA (video here), Chelal singled in the first. He stole second. Then third. Then he scored. Sadly, it's going to be one of the last memories that Matos will have of his child.

Officials suspended all Little League games until further notice, out of respect for the families involved

It's a terrible story to hear, especially when you note the boy's age: 12. Such a young, promising life taken away because the boy did what many other young kids would have done had their game got cancelled: stick around and toss a ball with a teammate.

What makes this story even harder to grasp, is the rarity of such an accident occuring. According to the National Weather Service, there were only 28 lightning-based fatalities in 2008.

This truly was a freak accident, and my thoughts go out to the families and friends of the two young boys.

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