(NEW YORK) — The parents of 13-year-old Easton Oliverson are speaking out about a simple fix they say could have saved their son from a life-threatening accident at the Little League World Series last year.
In August 2022, Easton was part of the first team out of Utah to make it to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. During the trip, the then-12-year-old fell from his bunk bed while sleeping in the league dormitory.
His parents, Nancy and Jace Oliverson, are speaking out for the first time since they filed a lawsuit against the league, telling ABC News’ Good Morning America the accident was caused by “gross neglect.”
“All we’ve been through and it was 100% preventable,” Nancy Oliverson said.
Jace Oliverson said that night, he was woken up by his injured son, telling him he was nauseous and had a headache.
“I sat him down instantly, that sweet boy lost all ability to do any simple commands like, ‘Easton, sit up straight, Easton, open your eyes,"” said Jace Oliverson, who said his faith warned him something was wrong.
Easton was rushed to the hospital, where doctors said he suffered an epidural hematoma and fractured his skull in the fall, Oliverson said.
“[The doctor] taps my shoulder and says, ‘Dad, you need to give your son a kiss goodbye. He’s in serious critical condition,"” said Jace Oliverson, who traveled with his son to the tournament in 2022. “I didn’t know if that was the last time I’d see him alive or what. They told me about 20 minutes later, Easton had a 0% chance to live.”
The Oliversons said the doctors performed emergency surgery to relieve pressure in Easton’s brain and save his life.
The Oliversons filed a lawsuit against Little League Baseball Inc. in September 2022. The suit claims litigation has since discovered a history of at least a dozen falls since 2005.
The Oliverson’s attorney, Ken Fulginiti, told Good Morning America there was “no reason” the league dormitory should have beds without rails.
“Kids have fallen out of the top bunks of the bunk beds and they may not have been as serious injuries as Easton suffered, but they were orthopedic injuries, they were concussions, there were things like that,” Fulginiti said.
The Little League told ABC News that it cannot comment on ongoing litigation, but in part of a statement, it said: “Out of an abundance of caution, following Easton’s fall — Little League removed all bunks from within the dorms and placed each bed frame individually on the floor, and we continue to review and evaluate safety protocols to prevent such an accident from ever happening again.”
The league also added, “We continue to offer Easton Oliverson our prayers and support as he recovers and heals.”
After nine months, three brain surgeries, many weeks in the hospital and countless hours in rehab, the Oliversons said Easton still has a long road to recovery.
“Throughout this whole experience, and the miracles with Easton, it was very easy to see that through power of prayer, anything is possible,” Jace Oliverson said.
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