Fortunate 4-year-old: Hope kid throws out first pitch nine months after brain bleed

Maverick Hanson, a 4-year-old from Hope, threw out the first pitch at an Indianapolis Indians game May 21 at Victory Field.

Submitted photo

Maverick Hanson was having fun at a party to celebrate his fourth birthday on July 31 when he banged heads with his 10-year-old brother Noah Shipley.

The boys’ mother Stacy Shipley wasn’t there, but some other family at the party called her and said two of her boys hit heads. So she rushed to pick them up.

“(Maverick) was really sleepy and wasn’t talking to me,” Stacy said. “Then on the way home, he started throwing up. I knew then that something wasn’t right, so we went straight to the hospital.”

Tests at Columbus Regional Health discovered a brain bleed. So they sent for a helicopter to pick him up and take him to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Doctors performed surgery for about three hours that night.

“Going into it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. I know these things don’t turn out good,’” Stacy said. “In surgery, there was nobody coming to tell us what happened. So until he woke up, and he was like, ‘Where am I. What’s happened?’ I thought we were going to have to be dealing with recovery for months or even years.”

Fortunately for her and Maverick, he came out of the surgery just fine. He stayed at Riley for three days, but then came back to his home in Hope and was back to normal.

“He had to have three months of speech therapy, but that was it,” Stacy said. “It was pretty crazy. He’s totally normal. He’s a crazy 4-year-old boy. People that don’t know him would never know that he had anything wrong.”

Maverick Hanson poses for a photo with the Indianapolis Indians mascot May 21 at Victory Field.

Submitted photo

May was trauma awareness month, and the Indianapolis Indians Triple-A baseball team honored trauma victims at their May 21 game against Iowa at Victory Field. Maverick was selected to throw out the first pitch.

“I think they had asked his surgeon for recommendations of who would fit to throw out the first pitch,” Stacy said. “So they gave him Maverick’s name, and we went and did it.”

Stacy said Maverick was excited at the opportunity.

“He was confused because he had never even been to a big baseball game or anything like that,” Stacy said. “But once we got there, he was so excited to get down there and do it. Afterward, he couldn’t believe the whole crowd was cheering for him. He was on top of the world. The showed him on the big screen at the game, so he couldn’t believe he could see his own face up there.”

Maverick is playing his first year of T-ball this summer. His team has been practicing and has its first game on June 12.

In addition to Noah and Maverick, Stacy has three other children ages 6, 3 and 1. She said Maverick, who likes to watch wrestling on TV, will start Kindergarten at Hope Elementary in August.

“He’s back to being a normal 4-year-old, and he’s so active,” Stacy said. “It’s awesome. It’s crazy.”