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Utah player suffers head injury at Little League World Series

Posted at 12:29 PM, Aug 15, 2022

WILLIAMSPORT, Penn. — A member of the Utah team competing in the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania was seriously injured in a non-playing accident that occurred overnight.

The 12-year-old player, Easton Oliverson, suffered a serious head injury Sunday after falling off his bunk bed in the middle of the night at the barracks in Williamsport, according to Kyle Hafen, the team's coach.

An onsite nurse evaluated Oliverson before he was transported to a local hospital and then airlifted to a children's hospital in Danville where he underwent surgery and is in critical condition.

Oliverson's family said on social media that the surgery was a success, and a team statement relayed that they are optimistic about his recovery.

“We’re very hopeful and he’s doing very well in the fight to get better, but the community and the prayers and the support that we’ve received is unbelievable, but he’s fighting the fight right now and it’s just a shock today to us and it’s been really tough,” said Easton's uncle Spencer Beck.

Hafen said Oliverson was originally alert, but his condition deteriorated as time went on. Doctors are waiting until swelling in Oliverson's brain decreases so they can run more tests.

"Terrible news. Our prayers are with this player, family and team today," Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted after hearing the news.

Players on the Utah team from the Snow Canyon Little League in Santa Clara were told of Oliverson's injury and are aware of his condition.

Oliverson's father, Jace, who is an assistant coach on the team, told Hafen not to let his son's injury distract the other players and wants the team to keep playing.

"We've worked too hard to get to this point," Hafen said his assistant coach told him.

The team added that continuing to play on is something coaches have taught the club since day one.

"While our hearts are heavy we are committed as a team and have an opportunity to take part in something that is only dreamt about by others," the statement said. "We teach our players to do everything with a purpose, that hasn’t changed, it has perhaps been added too with something far greater than ever.

"We believe in Team Utah! We believe in Team Easton!"

The team is representing the Mountain region and is the first-ever from Utah to play in the Little League World Series. They are scheduled to play their first game on Friday against the winner of the first-round game between the Southeast and New England region teams.

"To have this happen last night, it’s a shock, absolutely shocked for your family, for our community, for their team,” Beck said.

Players and coaches with the Utah team are taking part Monday in the annual parade ahead of the official start of the competition.

Event organizers shared their support for Oliverson and his family in a statement released late Monday.

"At the request of his family, Little League International encourages all to join us in keeping the Snow Canyon Little League player and his family in our thoughts and prayers, as we wish for a full and complete recovery."

Anyone who would like to donate to Easton's family during this time can do so with Venmo via username @MiraclesForTank

There is also a GoFundMe campaign to help all the kids' families pay for their out-of-pocket expenses to travel to Williamsport.