Nash boy returns to school after life-threatening head injury
Posted January 5, 2012
Nashville, N.C. — Less than four months after getting hit in the head with a baseball and undergoing brain surgery, a 12-year-old Nash County boy is back in school and says he hopes to play baseball again someday.
Lee Winstead spent nearly a month at a Greenville hospital after getting hit by a wild pitch during warm-ups for his Little League game on Sept. 28.
Lee's mother, Lori Winstead, says people are stunned to see her son's recovery. He returned to Nash Central Middle School on Nov. 23. He goes for a few hours each day and has a retired teacher who shadows him and helps with his school work. He also goes to physical therapy.
"His biggest challenges are vision. It's still blurred. We don't have double (vision) now, so that's gone. That's really good," Winstead said. "He's having to learn things differently now. The doctor told us that, of course, he had brain damage, and the brain has re-wired itself, so just to hang in there."
Winstead says she knew something was wrong with her son that September day when he said he wanted to sleep and allowed her to hold him after he was hit by the ball. She rushed him to a local hospital, where he was immediately airlifted to Pitt County Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery for a brain hemorrhage. Doctors removed a large part of his skull and some of his brain to remove the clot.
Teachers and fellow students at Nash Central Middle say they're happy the dark-haired, blue-eyed boy is back at school.
"He's really basically the exact same," said Graham Teachey, 12, who teared up while talking about his friend. "I missed him ... If I had a new joke to tell someone, I could tell Lee, but he wasn't there."
Jamie Bunn, Lee's sixth-grade language arts teacher, said he smiles more now than he did before.
"He sits in class and interacts with other students (and) smiles," she said. "The biggest (problem he has is) reading, seeing the board, but we let him sit at the computer if we have notes to take."
Lee, who said he wants to play baseball again, preferably second base, gets special treatment wherever he goes, according to his family. Friends wear his baseball number on their backs as a show of support, and he is on the wall of fame at the local Pizza Inn.
Winstead says her son is much more affectionate since the accident and doesn't talk too much about what happened.
"We don’t know why we went through what we went through, but there’s a reason and God got us through it, and we’re stronger for it," she said.