SAN DIEGO - Friends of a Ramona High School student who died after being struck in the chest by a ball during PE class on Wednesday celebrated his 16th birthday at the same time they mourned his sudden death.
About three dozen students held a vigil for their friend Taylor Dorman, where they wrote notes on a poster, brought flowers and reflected by candlelight. After singing "Happy Birthday" to Dorman, they released 16 birthday balloons into the sky.
His friend Kaylene Stehlik told 10News, "I just didn't think this injury would be as bad as they said it would be."
Dorman was playing a game of over-the-line during PE class at about 11 a.m. when he was hit in the chest by a ball off the bat of another player. Ramona High School Principal Tony Newman said the ball was softer than a normal softball.
"He got hit in the chest from a line drive and apparently he was running for 20 minutes and apparently he just dropped to the ground," said student Alex Dempski. "Coach Clark ran over and asked if he was all right. He wasn't responding."
A teacher called 911 after the student collapsed and experienced complications from being hit, authorities said. A medical helicopter landed on the field to airlift the boy to Palomar Medical Center.
Friend Navar Findley told 10News, "When he was a kid, he had a heart murmur."
He said Dorman's condition seemed to improve after he was flown to the hospital.
"His mom called me she said that he would be home and I would see him tomorrow," Findley said. "He just got tired, I guess, and wanted to sleep and he just never woke up. They just couldn't bring him back."
Newman said grief counselors would on campus Thursday for students and teachers.