NEW YORK (AP) - Before heading to the ballpark Tuesday, Greg Dobbs stopped at the hospital.
The Marlins third baseman wanted to visit 12-year-old Eli Shalomoff, who was hit in the face by a line drive Monday during a game between Florida and the New York Mets.
Dobbs said he went to Elmhurst Hospital and spent a little more than an hour with the boy and his family. He said the boy was doing OK after he was struck square in the face by Dobbs’ foul liner in the opening game of a doubleheader at Citi Field.
“He’s in as good spirits as he can be,” Dobbs said. “He’s tired, obviously. He’s dealing with a concussion, all the tests and everything. He’s run down, he’s hurting, but he’s on the mend, thank God. Thank God it wasn’t any worse.”
Shalomoff was released about 8 p.m. on Tuesday night, according to Atiya Butler, assistant director of public affairs at Elmhurst Hospital.
In addition to the concussion, Dobbs said the boy has a broken nose and a fractured sinus. But he said doctors do not anticipate any permanent damage, which was a big sigh of relief for Dobbs.
“Absolutely. You think of the worst, but you pray for the best. It’s just natural. You see a kid with a pool of blood in his lap holding up a towel to his face as he’s being carted off, it’s not a good sight,” he said.
The boy was hurt in the ninth inning when Dobbs hooked a line drive into the right-field seats, just beyond a photo well next to the New York dugout. Stadium medical workers immediately tended to the boy, who was bleeding heavily. Accompanied by his mother, he was carted away in a wheelchair after the game and taken in an ambulance to the hospital, where he was kept overnight.
According to Dobbs, the boy said he never saw the ball coming at him because another fan jumped up in front of him trying to catch it, blocking his view.
“He said it was just like a flash, just boom. He had no idea,” Dobbs said.
The infielder said he has a couple of ideas for a care package that he wants to send to the boy, who is more of a Yankees fan than a Mets backer, Dobbs said.
“He loves soccer, he wants to try out for hockey. I asked his favorite players. We shared photos of his family, my family and stuff. He’s a really neat little kid,” Dobbs added. “It was fun. It was good. The mom and dad were very upbeat, they were very positive because obviously the doctors are giving them a very positive prognosis.”
One of the reasons Dobbs was so shaken up is that he has two children of his own, a 4-year-old girl and a 1-year-old boy.
“That’s one of the things I told her,” Dobbs said, referring to the boy’s mother. “As a parent, I completely understand. I completely empathize. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare.”
Dobbs spoke with the boy’s mother after the doubleheader Monday and again early Tuesday for an update and to make sure it would be OK to visit.
“I wasn’t trying to surprise him or do it for any other reason other than I’m just concerned for the kid’s well-being. I just wanted the kid to be OK, show him that I care,” Dobbs said. “I’m not just a guy in a uniform playing a game. We’re all human. When an unfortunate thing happens like that and you impact someone’s life, you should show you care.”
Dobbs was in the lineup at third base Tuesday night against the Mets. He said he told the family he would call again after the game to make sure the boy had been discharged from intensive care and was headed home to sleep in his own bed.
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