NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Brooklyn teen says his love of baseball has been squashed by a coach who he says intentionally threw at his head during a practice last year.
As CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey reports, after surgery and lengthy rehabilitation, the teen is now suing.
The incident happened inside the gym of Bishop Ford High School — a baseball and a player’s face collided.
“My shirt was full of blood. I was dripping blood from my nose, like hemorrhaging,” Chris Mallette said.
Mallette told Hennessey he’ll never forget that day last March when he and teammates were practicing the catching of line drives, thrown by assistant coach Dharyl Russell.
“We told him to slow it down a little bit,” Mallette said.
Mallette said when it was his turn to catch balls, things got ugly.
“The ball was at my face and I had no time to turn my glove and catch it,” he said.
Mallette said he was 35 feet away when he was hit. And he said when coach Russell threw it, “he threw it hard.”
Mallette said despite his bleeding, coach Russell sent him home in a car service.
“They should have called an ambulance. My face was dented in. There’s no excuse. My face was dented in,” Mallette said.
He only went to the hospital after his horrified parents saw the damage.
“The force of the ball and the speed of the ball in such a short distance when it hit him shattered the whole side of his face,” Karen Mallette said.
Surgery has left Chris Mallette with three plates inside his head. And now he and his family are suing Russell and the high school, among others, despite acknowledging that playing baseball carries risk.
“I don’t believe the risk of having a ball thrown at your head in a practice is one of them,” attorney Jeff Antin said.
Hennessey tried to reach Russell but his wife told him he wasn’t home.
On the phone, Hennessey didn’t get much more. “I have no comment” was the answer to every question. Chris Mallette said he is convinced his coach was headhunting.
“It can’t be a freak accident,” he said.
Chris Mallette said he hasn’t played baseball since the incident and has no interest in doing so.