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7-year-old severely injured by foul ball at Joplin baseball game

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A seven-year-old boy is expected to live, but still heavily sedated at Children’s Mercy Hospital after being hit in the face with a baseball.

FOX4's Melissa Stern spoke with the boy’s parents Monday who are asking for the community's prayers.

Dawson Hirshey has not spoken since Friday night, but he has opened his eyes. It's been a harrowing few days.

His parents learned Monday that he will survive, but might have some obstacles to overcome.

“The first ball that we saw hit was the one that hit Dawson,” said Alicia Hughes-Hirshey, Dawson’s mom.

Alicia and Nick Hirshey took their kids to a baseball game at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin on Friday night.

“It was actually the first Missouri Southern game we had taken him to. We had been to other ball games before, but we hadn't seen a Southern home game,” Alicia explained.

As they sat in their seats by third base, near the dugout, a foul ball hit 7-year-old Dawson Hirshey in the middle of his forehead.

“It was within the first minute,” Dawson’s dad, Nick, said. “The bat cracked, and here it comes."

“Came right our way. There was nothing we could do,” Alicia recalled. “It was so fast, a split second.”

Dawson's parents saw it coming their way but hoped it might go over their heads. It didn't.

“He immediately grabbed it and started crying, so we ran over, and realized he was hit, and I yelled for a medic,” Alicia said. “It knotted up immediately. You could even see the stitches of the ball.”

Soon after, Dawson's eye started to swell. They hopped in their truck and headed to the hospital in Joplin.

He lost consciousness on the way.

The weather was too bad to fly him to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City Friday night, so they had to transport Dawson by ambulance.

“We learned today that he's going to survive the accident, which is first and foremost, but we learned that he may have some physical limitations, at least for a while, and will take some significant rehab, but mentally should be fine,” said Alicia. “It’s been horrible. It's been the most agonizing thing. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.”

The Hirsheys ask for the community's prayers, as they know that's what will bring him home.

They said they are so thankful for everyone`s support.

The school nurse at Diamond Elementary school, where Dawson is in the first grade, is selling t-shirts that say "Pray for Dawson" to help with medical costs.

The Missouri Southern State and Southwest Baptist baseball teams came together to pray for Dawson before their game on Saturday.