Local News

Wild pitch critically injures Rocky Mount boy

Posted September 30, 2011
Updated October 3, 2011

— Shortly before his Little League game Wednesday evening, sixth-grader Lee Winstead was sitting just outside the dugout watching the pitcher warm up when he was hit in the head by a wild pitch.

Two days later, the Rocky Mount 11-year-old is in critical condition at Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, where doctors say he's lucky to still be alive.

They credit his mother, Lori Winstead, with saving his life.

"He didn’t cry or anything. He just kept holding his head and was holding on to me with one arm," she said Friday. "We sat down, got him some ice and he sat there and did very well. He didn’t want to play, he didn’t want to leave, he just wanted to sit there and see if it would go away."

About an hour later, though, he started complaining that his head was hurting even more.

"He began repeating, 'I got to sleep mom. I got to sleep.' I said, 'No, you can't,'" she said Friday. "He let me hold him, which he doesn't let me do because he's a big boy."

That's when, she said, she knew something was seriously wrong. She took him to Nash General Hospital, where he was airlifted to Greenville and rushed into surgery.

"They call us in and tell us that he has a brain hemorrhage and that it's pretty big," Winstead said.

Lee Winstead Boy in critical condition after baseball injury

Cases like Lee's are on the rise across the country, according to a study published last year by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That's partly because of an increase in participation of youth leagues.

Children and teenagers are likely to get concussions, and it takes longer for them to heal than it does for adults, experts say.

Despite popular belief, most of these injuries happen without the loss of consciousness. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, confusion, memory loss like forgetting sports plays, nausea or vomiting and lethargy, among others.

Experts say Winstead did the right thing in recognizing her child's injuries and getting him medical attention.

Surgeons had to remove a portion of Lee's skull to remove the clot. Had Winstead waited any longer, the surgeon said, the swelling clot would have killed him.

She hasn't slept since Wednesday, she said, and she is worried about her son.

"I haven't been able to hug my daughter or husband yet, because I'm afraid, if I do, my walls will fall down," Winstead said. "I can't do that. I have to be strong for my baby."

For Lee, his condition has been touch and go. Winstead said he had a bad night Thursday.

"Then, this morning, he rolls over, and he opens his eyes on his own, without command, and said, 'I’m hungry, and I'm thirsty,'" she said.

But Lee is still not clear yet. He could still have brain swelling or other complications from the surgery.

"God has given us some blessings, and we’re getting there hour by hour, minute by minute, but that’s how it is up here," Winstead said.

"We have a long road ahead of us. We're not exactly sure what is ahead of us yet."


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  • Dalphine Oct 7, 2011

    Praying for a speedy recovery for this little man and God Bless and keep you and he has put his arms around you to protect you and he is giving you Peace. Take care of yourself.

  • PokeyGirl Oct 7, 2011

    Glad he is going to get better, and I hope he has a full recovery. Even though it's not mentioned in this story, I know from other stories that actress Natasha Richardson's death from a similar injury when she fell skiing, has had an impact on helping others' lives. As unfortunate and untimely as her loss was, I've read more and more stories similar to this, where people have recognized that a blow to the head that might seem not too serious at the time, can in fact turn out to be fatal.

  • YNCSW51 Oct 6, 2011

    Prayers for the family I hope Lee makes a full recovery.

  • callme4avon Oct 6, 2011

    sad, praying for healing and peace for the family

  • jscott13 Oct 5, 2011

    Thanks to all who offered updates and for the heads up about CarePages.

  • Just Being Me Oct 5, 2011

    Lifting Lee and Family up in prayer! There is a prayer chain circulating on Facebook as well! God's people are convening in prayer for this child's healing and I speak victory over him. Just keep the faith.

  • shemontay Oct 5, 2011

    my heart goes out to this family.. I pray God's blessing and recovery completely in every area of this child's body and mind. IJN.

  • HereswhatIthink Oct 5, 2011

    I am the mom to an 8 year old who loves his little league baseball. While at practice last night I thought often of Lee and pray that he would make a full and speedy recovery. My heart and prayers go out to Lee, his family, his doctors and nurses. Please keep us updated on his progress.

  • lbnblakesmom Oct 5, 2011

    Lee had a restful night, but has begun to run a fever. He's not out of the woods by anymeans, and I'm sure the family would appreciate all the prayers they can get.

  • soxalways Oct 4, 2011

    Sending prayers to the family and a speedy recovery to Lee. I have 2 boys who play baseball and I can not imagine what this mom is going through.