Loveland family suing aluminum bat manufacturer

LOVELAND, OH (FOX19) - The family of a Loveland teenager who was injured during a baseball game is suing a bat manufacturer.

Cole Schlesner suffered a fractured skull in May of 2009 while pitching for the Cincinnati Stix.

Cole, who was 15 at the time, was airlifted to Children's Hospital where he was in a coma for four days .

When he woke up he was unable to walk or talk and remained hospitalized for another six weeks.

Cole has made great progress in his recovery, but his family has filed a lawsuit suing Easton sports claiming their BT265 bat is unreasonably dangerous.

Aluminum bats like this are popular among players of all ages, but they've been the subject of a number of lawsuits.

Dr. Matt Busam, a Cincinnati Orthopedic surgeon says aluminum bats reflect more of the batter's energy. "Aluminum bats behave differently than wooden bats," explains Busam. "The ball hits the bat like a trampoline and it comes off at a faster rate."

Busam says, however, there's no evidence aluminum bats are more dangerous than wooden bats.

FOX19's legal analyst Mike Allen says lawsuits against sporting goods manufacturers is an emerging field of law. "What they're going to have to prove, the plaintiffs, is that the bat is inherently dangerous and the manufacturer of the bat, in this case Easton Sports, knew that."

The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court alleges that "Easton had actual knowledge of facts which demonstrated that the BT265 bat was unsafe due to its propensity to cause a ball to be hit with such velocity that opposing players could not react in time to protect themselves."

Greg Koch with Koch Sporting Goods says since Cole Schlesner's accident, bat safety has improved.

"Standards have become a little more strict to try to control the performance of the bats," says Koch. "[We're] trying to keep the bats at basically a level that all manufacturers are on the same playing field."

At this time the BT265 bat, the type involved in Schlesner's accident, is not listed on Easton's website. In our commitment to balanced news FOX19 reached out to Easton Sports for comment, but the company issued a statement saying it does not comment on pending litigation.

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