■ BY MARCY SHORTUSE
Chase Taylor is a very lucky little boy.
After being hit with a foul ball at a Stone Crabs game on August 8, he is not only well on his way to recovery but also got to meet Tim Tebow in person.
Stephanie Wheeler Taylor, the daughter of local fishing captain Dumplin’ Wheeler, is Chase’s mom. She realizes how blessed their family is to still have their little boy.
“He was hit behind the left ear and suffered a skull fracture and a bruised and bleeding brain,” she said. “He had blood and spinal fluid coming out of his left ear, but he never lost consciousness. He also lost his hearing in his left ear, which we didn’t know until later.”
Stephanie said that when the incident occurred, Chase’s sister Shaelyn took him straight to first aid, and they immediately called the ambulance.
“Rod and I got there the same time the ambulance did, and Rod grabbed Chase and jumped on the stretcher with him because Chase refused,” Stephanie said.
Chase ended up at Miami Children’s Hospital because of bad weather in St. Petersberg. He was in the pediatric ICU for two days, and when he started to improve he was moved to the neuro floor.
“We got to bring him home on August 11, and then he was on bed and home rest for two weeks,” Stephanie said. “He just had a checkup last Monday with a good report and got to start school last Wednesday.”
Stephanie said that when Chase was struck by the ball he was wearing his Gators shirt. The Stone Crabs’ general manager saw it and asked if Chase would like to meet Tim Tebow. Of course he did, so a meeting was set up in the locker room and clubhouse prior to this week’s game.
“The head coach of the Stone Crabs took time to show us around and talk with us, and then they set us up in the box suite complete with food during the game,” Stephanie said.
It was a very happy ending to a story that could have turned out much differently, and we are all very glad Chase is doing well.