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Girl injured at game visited by Dodger catcher

July 8, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was a month ago when 3-year-old Janelle Briseno had her skull fractured after accidentally being hit by a ball in batting practice at a Dodgers baseball game. Doctors at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles were able to repair her skull.Wednesday night, there was a happy reunion with little Janelle and Dodgers catcher Russell Martin.

Wearing a Dodgers hat, Janelle Briseno had her little stuffed Dodger dog autographed by catcher Russell Martin. He also took a picture with the smiling 3-year-old.

It was the first time they've seen each other since Martin accidentally hit her with a line drive during batting practice at a Dodgers game last month.

"Hit her square right in the head, and then she went down, her dad picked her up and for like five seconds he was just trying to see if she was still conscious," said Martin.

She wasn't, and Janelle was rushed to the emergency room of Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. She went into surgery to fix her fractured skull. A CT scan showed the large dent in her head.

"You can see the extent of the fracture which covers a fair area of the skull," said Dr. Gordon McComb, head of neurosurgery at the hospital.

McComb performed the operation. He said it was a success and Janelle was able to go home a few days later. Her mom was very relieved.

"When we were leaving, as soon as we went down the elevator she smiled for the first time and then in the car she started laughing," said Elizabeth Lopez, Janelle's mother. "She was so happy to get out of there."

Janelle is now all smiles, laughing with her parents and the Dodger players. The team invited her to Wednesday night's game, where she was given a jersey with her last name on the back and the number 3, for her age.

More than a hundred staff members from the hospital who cared for Janelle were invited to the game. The Dodgers wanted to thank them for all their hard work in making Janelle better.

No one was happier to see this day than Janelle's dad and Russell Martin.

"If she didn't want to come, we weren't going to come, but she said yeah and that's why we're here," said Jose Briseno, Janelle's father.

"I saw her smile a little bit, so that was kind of cool, and they say that she doesn't have any residual effects like headaches and stuff, so that's cool, really," said Martin.

Janelle's dad admits he was a little hesitant to go to another Dodgers game, considering what happened. He said the accident doesn't change how big a fan he is, just how close he'll sit next time.


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