CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Alex Dayle, a freshman at Virginia State University, has always had a love for baseball. He tells 8news, that it’s the structure and competition of the sport that made becoming a collegiate baseball player his dream.

But in September 2021, that dream was put on hold after a freak accident landed him in the hospital, needing emergency brain surgery.

Dayle and a group of friends were practicing in a park when a batter hit a baseball that slammed into his skull.

“I threw the pitch, and I didn’t get out in time and it hit me straight in the head,” he said. “I remember trying to get up and I couldn’t.”  

Dayle recalls a painful ride home where he experienced extreme sensitivity to light, headaches, and nausea. The next morning, his mother rushed him to the emergency room where doctors performed a CT scan and delivered the grim prognosis.

(Photo: Ri’Shawn Bassette, VSU Public Relations)

“They came back with the results and told me you really have no options but to get brain surgery either right now…or in 2 minutes,” he said.

At that moment, it was a matter of life and death.

Dayle was suffering from an “intracerebral hemorrhage,” or “bleeding on the brain itself.” Doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital performed emergency surgery for three hours, removing the clot from right above Dayle’s right ear.

8news obtained images of the CT scan showing the bleeding on a vulnerable part of the skull.

“I could’ve died,” he said. “There’s a chance I would not be here doing this interview right now.”

(Photo: Ri’Shawn Bassette, VSU Public Relations)

After surgery, Dayle had a hard time speaking, signaling the beginning of an intense road to recovery. At this time, baseball was not the focus. Instead, he spent weeks in physical therapy improving his motor skills and regaining his strength.

After returning to school weeks later, he slowly re-introduced sports back into his regime. In February 2022, five months after the freak accident, Dayle received communications from Virginia State University, sparking life back into his dream.

“I really fell in love with the school,” he said. “I talked to the baseball coach, Merrill Morgan. He was very down-to-earth, and I loved him. Then we went for a visit in February, and they treated us amazingly.”

To Dayle, it was a no-brainer. By committing to VSU, he was committing to a life where his love for baseball didn’t have to end. The athletic department at VSU agreed.

“Watching Alex’s recovery, determination, and overall talent is what made him a perfect fit for the Virginia State University Baseball Team,” said Peggy Davis, VSU Associate Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics.

(Photo: Ri’Shawn Bassette, VSU Public Relations)

The left-hander plans to lace up for the Trojans this coming fall as a first baseman and major in Accounting.

He says he’s not only thankful to the surgeons who saved his life, but to VSU for giving him a second shot at his dream.