On April 21, 2021, a Michigan high school baseball player, Cooper Gardner, was attempting to tag a player who was attempting to steal second base. As he dropped down to catch the ball, the runner’s knee apparently impacted Cooper’s head causing a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). After the collision, Cooper was unconscious for 40 minutes. Coaches and a doctor, who was at the game, recognized the seriousness of his condition and he was rushed to the emergency room with an apparent traumatic brain injury as well as heart and lung complications. Fortunately, the base-runner was not injured.
Cooper spent the next six days in the intensive care unit undergoing numerous tests and scans. After ensuring no further damage to his brain, he was moved to a regular hospital room on April 28th for further observation and treatment. He was subsequently released from the hospital and allowed to go home. Due to the seriousness of the traumatic brain injury, it was believed that Cooper would need physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for six to twelve months to enhance his recovery.
The Gardner family was facing huge medical bills even after their health insurance coverage. This GoFundMe page was established to help the family with the mounting expenses.
On Sunday, May 2, Cooper unexpectedly died at his home. An official cause of death has not been made public.
The proceeds from the GoFundMe campaign will be used by the family to cover medical and funeral expenses.
Very few deaths occur as a result of baseball injuries, however, baseball is among the top 10 sports-related causes of traumatic brain injuries. Cooper’s brain injury was more severe than typical sports injuries and is considered by some to be a “freak accident”. All sports-related concussions and head injuries should be carefully evaluated and taken seriously.