The death of a 12-year-old Oswego boy who collapsed after being hit in the neck with a baseball is a tragedy that has touched the fabric of the community.
Eric Lederman, a sixth-grader at Thompson Junior High School in Oswego, died about 10 p.m. Thursday at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
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The boy's death came more than 24 hours after accidentally being struck with a ball while playing baseball Wednesday in Wheaton, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. His death was ruled an accident, but the medical examiner's office did not specify how the accident occurred.
Eric died from a cerebral hemorrhage caused by the blunt head trauma of the baseball striking him, according to an autopsy performed Saturday.
His death hits home for many in Oswego because of his family's involvement in the village's sports and schools.
"When a devastating incident happens like this ... it affects the entire community, and we all feel a sense of loss," Oswego Village President Brian LeClercq said in a statement. "Our hearts and thoughts are extended to his family and friends during this difficult time."
Eric was a member of his school's wrestling team and played on the 12U-Orange travel baseball team with the Oswego Baseball and Softball Association. He has an older brother who also attends school in Oswego District 308, and the boys' mother works for the district's food service vendor, district spokeswoman Kristine Liptrot said.
He will be remembered by students and staff at his middle school as a boy with a caring attitude, quick wit and dedication to teamwork, District 308 officials wrote in a statement released jointly with the baseball and softball association.
"He played with an infectious smile and played the game with tremendous passion and heart," Eric's baseball coach Brian Zacker said. "His trademark move was to clap his batting gloves together continuously when he got on base to distract the pitcher. We could always hear when he was on base. He was also the comedian of the team."
Eric wore No. 2 and primarily played catcher, third base and center field. He had played in a park district baseball league for two years before joining the baseball and softball association, which is a traveling league, and played Wednesday evening in Wheaton.
Paramedics were called about 6 p.m. Wednesday to Atten Park on the 1700 block of Wiesbrook Road and transported Eric to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove.
He later was airlifted to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge.
Funeral arrangements had not been set as of Saturday afternoon, but details will be posted on the website of the Oswego Baseball and Softball Association, oswegobsa.org, once available.
The baseball and softball association has set up a memorial fund for Eric in conjunction with Oswego Youth Tackle Football. Donations can be made to "Eric Lederman Memorial Fund" at Allied First Bank, 3201 Orchard Road, Oswego, 60543.