School System Liable for Student Injury at Catonsville High
Gabriel Noble was injured by a ball hit from the softball practice field.
Baltimore County Public Schools is liable for an injury to a student track runner who was struck by a softball that had been hit from a nearby diamond at Catonsville High School, according to the school system's insurance agency.
In a letter dated May 24, a representative for the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE) said the school system will reimburse the family of freshman student Gabriel Noble for medical expenses and lost wages from the injury sustained on April 24.
Noble, who just finished his freshman year, told Patch he was running on the track during track practice while the girls softball team was hitting softballs off of a pitching machine or a tee.
The balls were going over the fence on the edge of the track, but team members were standing inside the fence near the track to catch them.
One ball was hit so far it struck Noble while he was running, breaking his collarbone.
Noble missed a few days of school, was unable to write for about three weeks, and missed the entire track season.
Dorothy Noble, Gabe's mother, said she received conflicting accounts from the school about the incident.
She said that when she asked for the incident report seven days after the injury, she was told it hadn't been filed.
Gabe said that no one at the school talked to him specifically about the incident.
"They didn't talk to us and communicate with us," he said.
The incident report, which the Nobles provided Patch, does not mention how the softball was struck. Gabriel said that he only saw the pitching machine in use that day, but an investigation by the school system said the tee was in use.
Dorothy Noble said in the week after the incident, they received conflicting reports from the school about how the incident occurred.
The only communication she has received was from MABE, which handles insurance claims for the school system, and the system's Office of Risk Management.
She said the risk management office told her it was not required to provide parents with the incident report, which is filed at the school level.
Dorothy Noble said that while it is comforting that the school system will pay for medical expenses, she would have liked more information.
"But [what] a 14-year-old child wants is to have his injury explained by the adults trusted with his care along with, maybe an apology, the gag order restricting any adult with any knowledge to speak to him after his injury does nothing but add insult," she wrote in an email.
"Not one person has come up to him and asked, 'How are you doing?'" she added.
Gabe is back to playing sports again and said he plans to run track again next spring.
High School Principal Deb Bittner told Patch Wednesday she couldn't talk about the incident.