A 12-year-old west suburban boy who died Thursday after being struck by a baseball during a travel league game suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage as a result of the accident, an autopsy Saturday found.
Eric Lederman, of Oswego, collapsed after the ball hit him in the neck Wednesday night at Atten Park in Wheaton where his youth travel baseball team was preparing to take the field. He died little more than 24 hours later at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge following an airlift from Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. An autopsy Saturday found that Eric died of a cerebral hemorrhage with a secondary cause listed as blunt head trauma, from being struck by a baseball, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. His death was ruled an accident.
“It’s a tragic freak accident,” said the John Thorson, who heads up the Oswego Baseball and Softball Association. “Right now we’re concentrating all our efforts on the family and the team and the coaching staff,” Thorson said. “They are all literally beside themselves.”
Lederman, a sixth-grader at Thompson Junior High School in Oswego, “played with an infectious smile,” said his coach Brian Zacker.
It was Lederman’s third year playing travel baseball. He wore No. 2 on his jersey and played catcher, third base and center field.
“His trademark move was to clap his batting gloves together continuously when he got on base to distract the pitcher,” said Zacker. “We could always hear when he was on base. … He was also the comedian of the team. Whether we lost 2-1 or 20-1, he would always say something in our post-game huddle that would make us laugh. He brought a tremendous amount of joy, passion, and love to his team, coaches, and baseball family and we will never forget him. He may have been No. 2 in the field, but he will always be No. 1 in our hearts.”
Lederman also was on the wrestling team at his school, said school spokesman Kristine Liptrot.
“Eric was always willing to help out: in practice, at meets or in the hallways,” said Liptrot. “His caring attitude towards his peers, quick wit and dedication to teamwork are things that will be remembered about him at Thompson Junior High.”
Neighbors described Eric – the youngest of three children – as a “happy-go-lucky kid” who avoided trouble and was often seen shooting hoops with his older brother in their driveway.
Bouquets of flowers sat on the stoop of the Lederman family home in Oswego Friday afternoon.
His baseball league is working to set up a memorial – possibly a patch or decal to be worn by fellow athletes.
“This is a tragic loss that will affect students, staff, faculty and parents throughout the school district,” said Liptrot. “Eric’s teammates go to four different schools in the district, he has a sibling at the high school, and his mother is an employee of our food service vendor.”
Information on funeral services and arrangements will be posted on the baseball association’s website at www.oswegobsa.org.