A Manassas, Virginia, teenager went into cardiac arrest after an unusual play on a baseball diamond in mid-July. His life was saved by the quick actions of a teammate, bringing the two players and friends closer.
Steve Smith is fortunate to be able to play ping pong with Paul Dow, a friend and baseball teammate who Smith said saved his life.
"I shouldn't be alive, and I’m just blessed to be here," Smith said. "My body feels like nothing happened. Mentally, seeing everyone, kind of traumatized, it's kind of a crazy thing to experience."
It was a freak accident at the Manassas Blue and Grey Tournament team practice two weeks ago. Smith was running from second to third base when the catcher threw the ball, accidentally hitting him under the left arm pit.
The ball hit his heart, causing commotio cordis, a lethal disruption of the heart rhythm. Smith went into cardiac arrest.
"All I hear is coach Tim Smith say, 'Does anyone know CPR?' I said, 'I know CPR,'" Dow said. "I jump in, did CPR, like, I felt like I was having a spiritual conversation with him as he is sitting there slowly dying."
Dow recently learned CPR training to become a lifeguard.
Their coach is Steve Smith’s father.
"By the time I got to him from home plate to third base, he was non-responsive," Tim Smith said. "Eyes rolled back in his head."
Dow continued CPR, and moments later, Steve Smith regained consciousness. Medics arrived and airlifted him to the hospital.
He was in a medically induced coma for three days before he woke up.
"The chances of someone surviving this is very, very, low," said Tim Smith. "It's just a miracle he's here."
The actions brought the teammates and friends even closer together.
"Before the accident, we were friends," Steve Smith said. "Now, we're actually brothers. It's overwhelming."