Pitcher from Licking, Mo., on road to recovery after struck in head by batted ball

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 3:42 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2022 at 5:25 PM CDT
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OZARK, Mo. (KY3) - It’s something every parent fears. Their child suffers a life-threatening injury while playing sports.

That’s why it was hard for Jason and Tracy Davis to step into U.S. Ballpark in Ozark on Saturday, even though their 16-year-old son Kellar wasn’t even playing for the Licking baseball team. Instead, he was sitting on the dugout railing with his teammates, watching the game, wishing he could play but thankful he was there to see it.

”It was hard to return to this field because it happened right here,” Kellar’s father, Jason, said.

Kellar is one of four children in the Davis family who recently moved from Mansfield to Licking, and Kellar was looking forward to taking the mound for his new team.

“Pitching is just something that’s always calmed me down,” he said. “It soothes me. It’s just always been home to me.”

But on July 10 at this same ballpark, Kellar was pitching for the Midwest Mavericks summer league team when he was struck in the right temple by a batted ball.

“It knocked me down, but I got back up, and I thought I had the ball,” Kellar recalled. “So I reached into my glove and didn’t feel it there. Then my vision went black. I was still conscious, but that was when I started to get scared, and I heard people coming out there.”

Those people included Jason and Tracy and spectators with medical backgrounds who helped until an ambulance arrived.

Kellar, who would slowly regain his sight, was transported to Cox South Hospital, where his parents were told he’d be under concussion protocol for the next 24 hours.

But soon after they arrived, the news got worse.

“A neurosurgeon walked in and told us it was getting bad quick,” Jason said. “They were prepping the OR, and they needed to go now.”

“He had bleeding between his skull and the lining of his brain, Tracy added.

“They did a craniectomy where they take a piece of skull out, drain the blood and cauterize the bleeding,” Kellar explained. “Then they put (the piece) back on with four little metal plates in there.”

“The next 24 hours were rough,” Tracy said. “He was sick all night.”

As Tracy anxiously waited for a post-operative CT scan to be completed, she started reading Kellar’s Bible she had brought from home.

“I was reading the passages he had highlighted (‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do’), and right after that, the CT scan came back perfect. From that moment on, (he improved) and started walking that evening. It was a God thing.”

“Every different specialist that came in the room was like, ‘This is just amazing!’” Jason said.

Expected to be in intensive care for 72 hours and in the hospital for another week, Kellar was released within 72 hours and attributed his quick recovery to his faith and a commitment he had made two weeks before the accident.

“I got called into the ministry, and I knew he was going to do something in my life pretty crazy to give me a good testimony for people,” Kellar said with a smile. “But I never expected it to be something like this. My great-grandpa told me that Satan took a shot at me, but God had bigger plans for me.”

There was also a tremendous outreach of support from the Licking community and beyond.

“It’s been very overwhelming and humbling,” Tracy said of the support. “We’ve heard from people we know, people we don’t know, even people from other countries.”

Kellar is determined to return to the field soon and says he has had no lingering effects.

“The only thing I had to get was a shaved head for it, so that’s pretty good,” he said.

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