A 28-year-old Carlsbad man is having to re-learn how to speak and write after a tragic freak accident involving a softball bat.
Mike Petracca was in Las Vegas on Jan. 18 for a softball tournament. Right before the third game, he was walking in between two fields when the bat flew out of another player’s hands and struck Petracca in the temple. Petracca immediately collapsed to the ground and hit his head again.
According to friends, Mike suffered a skull fracture and swelling of the brain.
He has Broca’s Aprasia, which means – although he’s aware of everything around him – he’s lost the ability to speak and do other things associated with that part of the brain.
“Two inches either way. Two inches higher would've missed him. Two inches the other way and we'd be having a different conversation right now,” said Michael Petracca, Mike’s father.
Mike is back with family and friends in Carlsbad. Most of his speech is limited to “yes” and “no” responses right now, but he’s improving every day. In just one week, he regained a significant amount of control and strength in his right arm and hand. He told NBC 7’s Candice Nguyen he’s able to eat and brush his teeth on his own now.
When asked if he feel frustrated, Mike said he was just happy to be alive.
“It's made me more proud of him to see the love people have for him,” said his father.
People from all over the world, especially from softball and LGBT communities, have shown their support with donations and kind words. Some of the donors are from as far as Australia.
“When you look at these donations and what people are saying who don’t even know him saying that – it just makes you feel good about humanity,” said Michael.
We asked what the outreach means to Mike and he said it means “everything” and “[He] loves them so much.”
To help in Mike’s recovery, you can make a donation here: http://www.gofundme.com/mikepetracca
There’s also a fundraiser planned for Saturday February 7: https://www.facebook.com/events/828725507188220/?pnref=story