TAMPA, Fla. — Finally taking the mound evokes one single emotion for 12-year-old Patrick Plunkett.
"Joy," said Patrick.
And immeasurable gratitude even a child can grasp, especially after what happened during a game just six months ago
It was the top of the third and Patrick was pitching at the All Star Tournament in Ocala. He immediately realized his throw would lead to a line drive straight at him.
"It was a lot of pain, when I felt it hit in me in my heart," said Patrick.
He stopped breathing, the ball park seemed to stand still, and his mother's world stopped.
"He says, 'mommy I knew you were calling me but I could not answer you,'" said Kris Plunkett.
"I am glad I was there," said Katie Patel through tears.
Patel, who watching her own son, turned to her training as a nurse.
"The window of time that that can happen is 1/60 of a second in one heart beat," said Patel.
She had less than four minutes to save his life. She started CPR, first a cough and then Patrick's eyes flickering open.
"I told him he would be ok," said Patel.
The patient and Patel pulled apart. An ambulance rushed Patrick to intensive care at Shands Hospital in Gainesville.
"The ball hit him at the right part of the heart. The first time my girls ever saw me cry was when we went to Gainesville to go see Patrick in the hospital. They had never seen me cry before," said his father who is also named Patrick.
The 12-year-old stayed for days as doctors stabilized his heart and then just this week, led by Patrick's dad, the family walked into another hospital, Patel's. Memorial on Swann Avenue in Tampa.
The family hugged and shared tears with the woman who made this moment possible
"I'll never forget this face," said Patel through tears. "I am so glad that I was there."
"So are we," echoed Patrick's parents and two sisters.
They are finally able to breathe and make a difference.
"My thing is lets prevent this from happening again," said Patel.
She turned words into actions, the hospital is backing efforts to get all ages CPR trained at sports youth organizations.
"It brings out a flood of emotions doesn't it?" said Patrick senior looking at his wife.
Patrick's parents are joining Patel's cause. They raised money for CPR training for kids in their community for the next 10 years and they also helped equipped fields with life saving equipment so more stories can have a happy ending, just like Patrick's.
"When I woke up I knew that was a miracle," said Patrick.
If you'd like to help you can donate to the Patrick Plunkett Safety Education GoFundMe — organized by East Bay Youth Athletics.