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Twelve-year-old dies from brain injury after being hit by softball

7/25/2007

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A 12-year-old softball player was
knocked unconscious when a ball hit her in the head during
practice, and she died a day later, police and family said.

Margaret Ruth "Maggie" Hilbrands was hit by a ground ball
during a routine infield drill on Monday -- a day after the death of
a minor league baseball coach who was struck by a line drive in
Arkansas. The Grand Rapids girl died Tuesday at DeVos Children's
Hospital.

"She missed the ball. It appears it hit her in the wrong spot.
She never regained consciousness," her mother, Jan Hilbrands, told
The Grand Rapids Press.

Maggie stopped breathing but her heart was beating after the
ball hit her, Lowell Police Chief Jim Valentine told The Associated
Press. He said coaches and others at the scene tried to revive her
before she was taken to a hospital.

The Kent County medical examiner's office planned to conduct an
autopsy Thursday.

Maggie had been set to enter the seventh grade this fall at
Grand Rapids Christian Middle School. She had been practicing with
teammates on the Lowell Xtreme traveling softball team.

"The team is having a real hard time," her mother said. "This
was kind of Maggie's first experience with the traveling team, but
she really enjoyed it."

On Sunday, Mike Coolbaugh, a 35-year-old coach for the Double-A
Tulsa Drillers, died after being struck by a line drive as he stood
in the first-base coach's box during a game in Arkansas.

On Tuesday, Pulaski County (Ark.) Coroner Mark Malcolm told the
Tulsa World that Coolbaugh died from a loss of blood to the brain
after the foul ball hit him on the left side of his neck, rupturing
an artery.

Coolbaugh was given CPR on the field, but Malcolm said there was
nothing medical personnel could have done to save him.