A teenage fast bowler was in hospital yesterday with bleeding on his brain after he was accidentally hit in the head with a cricket ball during a weekend WACA colts game - the impact so hard the ball ricocheted almost to the boundary.
Kaidyn Fullgrabe, nephew of former Australian cricketer Ryan Campbell, was unable to catch or get out of the way when the batsman smashed back the ball he had just bowled, hitting him in the side of the head and knocking him to the ground.
The 18-year-old, who was playing for Joondalup against Subiaco Floreat in Sunday's game, did not lose consciousness but knew something was seriously wrong when he was unable to speak.
"He was trying to say things but he couldn't form the words, the neurosurgeon said he probably had a seizure although it wasn't obvious," his mother Janine Fullgrabe said.
He was hit in the same spot in the head where he has a metal plate, which was inserted after he fractured his skull in a fall as a four-year-old, but Mrs Fullgrabe said doctors did not think that contributed to his injury.
Mrs Fullgrabe said the "freak accident" had been very worrying but because her son was improving and not in pain, he was more concerned about missing pre-season football training with West Perth colts and not being allowed to fly to Melbourne to watch the Boxing Day cricket Test with his mates.
He is talking and feeling fine but his speech is still slightly slurred.
The teen, who is desperate to be out of Royal Perth Hospital for Christmas, said doctors did not think he would have any permanent injuries but he might have to start wearing a helmet to play football.
Campbell, who is coaching cricket in Hong Kong, has posted a get-well message to his nephew on Facebook.
Mrs Fullgrabe said her brother had later joked that the 18-year-old obviously had not inherited his catching ability.
"But Ryan can't bowl," Mrs Fullgrabe said, laughing.