Little Leaguer welcomed home in NJ after traumatic brain injury on the field

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Saturday, August 20, 2022
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A 12-year-old Little League pitcher who suffered a traumatic head injury was welcomed home Thursday by his family, teammates and first responders. Anthony Johnson has the story.

WESTFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A 12-year-old Little League pitcher who suffered a traumatic head injury after being hit by a line drive last month was welcomed home Thursday by his family, teammates, and first responders.

After roughly five weeks of being hospitalized, Anthony Labin is finally back home.

The Westfield police and fire departments escorted Lapin and his family to their home, where he will continue his recovery.

"It was really cool seeing everybody," Labin said.

"I can't tell you how much it means to us to get Anthony home, so thank you, everybody," his dad Ron Labin said.

Labin was pitching in a game at Cooperstown Dreams Park back on July 11 when a batter returned a pitch directly at his head, knocking him unconscious.

"It all happened very quickly, and it was shocking and heartbreaking," mom Mairjo Labin said.

He was airlifted to Albany Medical Center, where he underwent surgery for a fractured skull before being transferred to Children's Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick for physical therapy.

"This kid has not complained once, about any of this, the work that he has to do, what happened, he talks about when am I gonna play again...but this kid took it all in stride," Ron Labin said.

During his hospital stay, he received some words of encouragement from the manager of his favorite team.

"Everyone here with the Yankees is thinking about you, pulling for you, praying for you, we know you're gonna make a full recovery," Aaron Boone said in a video message.

Now that he's home, he is surrounded by those who love him most.

He suffers from aphasia which impacts his ability to understand and speak, but he has made remarkable progress.

His older brother stepped up around the house as mom and dad kept a constant vigil at his bedside.

"Obviously I was worried, but I knew that in the end, he would be okay, I knew that from the beginning and I was telling my mom and my dad that, and that he was going to be tough and he was going to get out of it," brother Nick Labin said.

Nick said he knew his brother was strong.

He will undergo one more medical procedure and will be homeschooled for a while, but his prognosis is good.

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