A boy from Indianapolis, Indiana, got a massive blood clot after being hit in the head with a golf ball from a Nerf gun.
Decker Bowman’s blood clot was so bad that it could have cost him his life, his father told WISH-TV.
“Deck and my other nephew, who is 6, had just gotten home from golf camp and they were hitting Nerf golf balls and made their way to the side of the house where they found a real ball, and the 6-year-old hit the golf ball,” Austin Bowman said. “And by accident hit Deck.”
Immediately after being hit, the side of Decker’s head began to swell.
“The way it was sitting on his head was just really scary,” Austin said. “We rushed him to the hospital and then after a few hours there, we were home and we were discharged and home.”
Just a few hours later, things began to get worse. Decker woke up and was foaming from the mouth onto a straw his father gave him, so they rushed back to the hospital for a scan.
“When we saw the scan, the whole room we were sitting in, it went from like professional, to it’s OK, I fell down,” Austin said.
As it turned out, there was a blood clot that was putting pressure on the 4-year-old’s brain.
“A head CT scan showed that a very, very large frontal epidural hematoma, basically blood clots, if you will, on the surface of the brain, outside of the membrane that covers the part of the brain called the dura. Between the skull and the dura, there’s a potential space. It’s not supposed to be real space, but when there’s bleeding in that space, it can cause a lot of pressure on the brain,” explained pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Jodi Smith, who treated Decker.
Smith said that when Decker was rushed to a children’s hospital for surgery, he was “swirling down the drain, so to speak, very quickly.”
“I took the bone off and there was at least a fist-sized area of clot on the surface of the brain,” Smith said of the surgery.
Decker’s mother, Abbie Bowman, said the situation was “every mother’s worst nightmare,” particularly because she was visiting a friend in Colorado at the time of the incident. She was on a last-minute flight home when her son went into surgery and got to the hospital after he was out.
“In the same token it was interesting that she was gone because I panicked and when Dr. Smith said it was seconds to save his life and that she needed to beat the ambulance or have a chance to save him,” Austin said.
As it turned out, Austin’s decision to take his son back to the hospital when he did is what ultimately saved his life.
“Had dad second guessed himself, ‘Oh we were already there, there’s probably nothing wrong’ and Decker went to sleep that night, Decker probably wouldn’t have awakened in the morning,” Smith said.
Decker survived the blood clot and a photo of his injury quickly went viral after his father posted it online.
“It was all people caring about my son and I’m not sure which one of their prayers saved his life,” Austin said.
Many readers expressed sympathy for the family and relief that the boy will recover.
“I'm sorry you've had to endure so much," one Daily Mail reader commented. "I wish you all the best.”
“Poor kid - he was so lucky that the father acted fast,” another added.