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NJ teen dies after baseball practice accident

December 6, 2010 2:18:30 PM PST
Family members say a 16-year-old northern New Jersey boy died after being struck in the chest by a baseball during a club team practice.

Thomas Adams, a catcher, was practicing with a pitcher when the accident occurred around 7 p.m. Friday. The Garfield teen went into cardiac arrest and was taken to St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, where died about an hour later.

Family members told The Record of Woodland Park that the Garfield High School sophomore was wearing all his catching gear at the time including a chest protector.

Neighbor and landlord Lou Popstefanov says he's hurt and shocked by the news.

"Great kid. He was always playing in the back yard. His father is a great man. It's a big tragedy," Popstefanov said.

Adams was practicing with a Paterson-based traveling team that was preparing for a tournament in Florida later this month. His teammates have decided to play in the tournament, deciding it was the best way to honor his memory.

Garfield school officials said the high school would be open Sunday "for any students who are having difficulty dealing with" Adams' death. Counselors will also be there Monday to assist students if needed.

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