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Home run with the community

Home run with the community

Members of the Ellsworth Community College baseball team had quite an experience on their first day of outdoor practice for the season. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the team was filled with excitement for the great weather that finally allowed them to practice on their field. As ECC baseball players Trevor Smisek and Manny Olutunde entered the parking lot the "excitement" began.

They noticed a teenager running toward them yelling. As they got closer they heard him saying "help" and noticed someone else lying on the ground.

Olutunde ran toward the person on the ground, finding Isaiah Gray with a substantial cut on his leg. Gray had snagged a protruding screw on the scoreboard while geocaching nearby. Olutunde yelled back to Smisek to call 911 and stayed with Gray to keep him calm.

Smisek saw the cut and called 911. "At first I wasn't sure if we really needed to call, but afterseeing the cut it looked pretty deep."

Najay King was the next ECC player on the scene. King, who has Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training, stepped in to assess the situation. "My EMS training helped me see that he had a deep and long cut, but there wasn't a lot of blood so I knew he wasn't in danger of passing out," said King.

The rest of the team began showing up, and all three players agreed they wanted to stay with him until the ambulance came. "It was the right group of guys that showed up first," commented King.

ECC Math Faculty Brent Ries was also driving by and saw all of the emergency equipment and stopped to make sure everything was okay. "The baseball guys really handled it and had everything under control."

Gray is the son of Iowa Falls resident Sarah Murray. He is homeschooled and has autism. His cousin Scott Mammen, who flagged down the team for help, was visiting in town after an appointment.

"Isaiah was truly scared he was going to die, and they let him know he was going to be okay," reports Murray. Gray was taken to the Iowa Falls hospital, where they confirmed he would need to be taken by ambulance to Iowa City. He was injured at 3 pm and was stitched up at midnight in Iowa City by an orthopedic surgeon. His wound was 7 inches long and ½ inch deep, requiring 11 stitches. "He was lucky that he hadn't cut any tendons or ligaments," said Murray.

While in the Iowa Falls hospital, King brought a game ball he had signed to Gray. A week after the incident, King also brought a poster signed by the whole team to Gray at his home, and he has continued to check in on him. "The whole team was great," said Murray. "But Najay has kept in touch from day one and still is. He truly went above and beyond."

"The police and EMT were great as well, but those baseball players made all the difference in his emotional stability through this, especially due to his autism. They truly are great, caring, genuine men!"

Murray was so appreciative of all the baseball team had done that she brought food for them after their game on Monday, March 27, and made sure to extend her thanks.

When asked about the experience, Olutunde said, "It was just a random thing and you are in the moment. I'm just happy I could help and that he is okay." Smisek added, "If anyone else from the team had showed up first they would have helped, too."

Photo Caption: ECC baseball team with Isaiah Gray after a home baseball game.

Photo Caption #2: Manny Olutunde, Najay King, Isaiah Gray and Trevor Smisek.