Other than the fact that it was Taylor Dorman's 16th birthday, it seemed like just a regular old day at Ramona High School near San Diego. Taylor was going to go to class, probably have some birthday cake, maybe play some video games, then go to bed. That all changed, though, at morning P.E. class. Taylor and fellow students were playing a game of over-the-line when he was struck in the chest with a batted softball.
At first, everything seemed fine -- he even made a joke to the batter. But 20 minutes later, he collapsed.
The P.E. teacher called 911, and soon Taylor was being whisked away and flown to a nearby hospital. A few hours later, he was pronounced dead.
It's believed the sudden and swift blow to his chest caused an irregular heartbeat (or exacerbated a pre-existing one), which stopped the heart from pumping blood. Doctors tried to stabilize the teen, but couldn't.
It's stories like these about freak accidents that sort of wake us up to the possibilities, positive and negative, that we all encounter daily. I'm sure Taylor's parents had already warned him all about the dangers of texting and driving, how important it is to eat right, and how you have to wear sunscreen, even when it's cloudy.
But Taylor's parents couldn't protect him from a rogue softball that would prove so deadly, nor could any of us. We can warn our kids until we're blue in the face about safe driving and safe sex and safe drinking, etc., but they're always at risk.
But what can we do? I once saw a quote on some beach house pillow that read, "Ships in a harbor are safe, but that's not what ships were made for." We can keep our teens locked in their rooms, away from the opposite sex and away from stupid softballs, but that's not what's best for them. We just have to remember to be thankful daily, or occasionally, even, when they come home, safe and sound.
Because sometimes, like in Taylor's case, they won't.
How do you manage your fear about your teen's safety?
Photo via vox exf/Flickr