(Updated) New York Little Leaguer Tragically Dies During Game
Little League baseball seems like a right of passage for boys and girls. 2.6 million kids play Little League baseball each year. Though, the experience is mostly fun and happiness, tragedy comes to the plate at times and sadness prevails.
According to Vera Chinese of newsday.com, a fourth-grade Little Leaguer from East Elementary School in Long Beach, New York died on Friday while playing in a Long Beach/Lido Little League Baseball game. Chinese reported that Long Beach school superintendent Jennifer Gallagher made the announcement. They also said that counselors will be made available to students following the death of Lazar LaPenna.
Newsday.com reported that Lazar was playing in a game at Point Lookout Park on Field 1 when he died, “The community is heartbroken,” said Andy Hayes, the Long Beach/Lido Little League President. Hayes added that prior to the event Lazar was elated to have gotten a hit during the game on Friday. Chinese talked to Hayes and he said that the boy's parents "and their extended families have been a huge part of the Long Beach community for generations. We are all mourning the tragic loss of Lazar together with them.”
According to nypost.com the cause of Lazar LaPenna's death was a result of an epileptic seizure. "Gregg LaPenna, who coached his son’s team, said his boy had been diagnosed with epilepsy several years ago and had managed the condition with medication." The father said that his son's death was not baseball related. Though Lazar's passing was apparently not related to a baseball injury, Stanford Children's Hospital research shows that "nearly 110,000 children ages 5 to 14 were treated in hospital emergency rooms for baseball-related injuries. Baseball also has the highest fatality rate among sports for children ages 5 to 14, with three to four children dying from baseball injuries each year."
“This tragedy is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for students and staff, particularly for [those] who are close to this family. All of our schools have a Crisis Intervention Team made up of professionals trained to help with the needs of students, parents, and school personnel at difficult times such as this. Please continue to keep the LaPenna family, especially Lazar’s parents and siblings, in our thoughts and prayers,” Long Beach school superintendent Jennifer Gallagher wrote. It is incredibly sad, when a happy place for kids is marred with tragedy.