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7-week-old hospitalized with brain injury after softball hits her head at dad's game

McKenna Hovenga, 7 weeks old, was struck after a ball hit her head during her dad's softball game on May 2.
McKenna Hovenga, 7 weeks old, was struck after a ball hit her head during her dad's softball game on May 2. YouCaring/Laura Heise

A 7-week-old Iowa girl is in the hospital after a softball hit her head while she was at her dad's game last week.

McKenna Hovenga was breastfeeding while underneath a blanket, behind a fence, in the stands when a ball flew over the fence and hit her head, according to a YouCaring page set up on her behalf.

She and her mom, Kassy, "never saw the ball coming," an update on the page says.

"The ball came over the fence - and either hit McKenna first or hit Kassy first," the update says. "We're really not sure as it happened so fast and Kassy was looking down at McKenna as she was feeding."

A bump began to form on both McKenna's head and on her mom's bicep where the ball struck her arm.

"McKenna didn't begin to scream until a few seconds afterward," the update says. "They were unaware that she was even hit, until the large lump formed."

McKenna was then hospitalized with skull fractures and two brain bleeds, according to the YouCaring page.

She was then life flighted to St. Mary’s Hospital at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

At the clinic, doctors gave McKenna anti-seizure medications and have been monitoring her blood clots, according to the Facebook page, "Healing for McKenna."

As of mid-morning on Sunday — four days after McKenna was hit — she had been seizure-free for 48 hours.

On Monday, doctors found a spot on McKenna's lung, according to a Facebook update. She began showing signs of a respiratory infection, so she is now receiving antibiotics.

"Please keep the prayers coming and fingers crossed!!!!!" the update states.

McKenna was already considered her family's miracle baby, according to KWWL.

"We had to do three rounds of fertility treatments to get this little miracle, she is definitely our miracle baby," Kassy Hovenga told KWWL.

McKenna's family wants to remind people that accidents happen, and getting hit by a softball was one unfortunate accident.

"Unfortunately, we can't bubble wrap our babies, as much as we may want," a post on the YouCaring page says. " ... We blame NO ONE."

The family has raised almost $30,000 of a $50,000 goal for medical expenses.

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