By Sally Tippett Rains

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead, the cultural anthropologist and famous speaker in the 1960's and '70's who originated that quote could have been talking about the small group who took to Facebook and Twitter on Monday-- resulting in action and good will for a young 13-year old who is in extreme pain after suffering a serious injury at baseball practice. Tommy Kramer is thankful to be at home and recovering.

He is being surrounded by the love of strangers and his story has even made it to the Cardinals.

On Sunday at the St. Charles Capitals baseball practice, the players were doing "stations" when the accident occurred. Because of the cold temperatures in the Greater St. Louis Area, they were holding practice indoors. 

According to Tommy's mother, Christy Britton Kramer, one group was doing soft toss into a net while another was batting off tees. The practice was going just like it always does, with the players hitting into the net. The first group were all right handed. Just by a human error, a leftie came up to bat and his swing went  in a little different direction and he missed the net. The ball went into Tommy's face. 

Matt Kramer was at the facility supporting his son at practice but was in the weight room at the time of the accident. He saw all the commotion and figured something was wrong. Then Coach Brian Kirton came running by with ice and Matt called out "did we have an accident?" 

The coach called back, "yes and it was Tommy!"

The other coach, John Pugh was tending to Tommy who was bleeding profusely. It was an all-out team effort with parents including some of the moms helping to keep him calm and clean him up so they could take him to the hospital. Matt called Christy who raced to the emergency room while Tommy's two sisters Ally, 15 and Natalie, 9  huddled together at home not knowing how bad the situation was. 

"The whole time were were at the hospital, the girls were texting me," said Christy. "They wanted to know how he was and if he could ask for prayers on social media. "

It turned out Tommy broke his nose in several places and also broke his orbital bone. The orbital socket is in the eye so once the fluid went down and they were to see what extent the damage is and if Tommy would need surgery. 

"The amazing thing was he never even cried," said his mom.

As it turned out he would not need work done on the eye but his nose is broken in several places and he will have surgery on Friday

The Kramer family has been so amazed at how much support they got from the coaches and the team-- the coaches went to the hospital and besides having to leave for a short time, stayed the entire time with the family. 

Tommy is a good ballplayer. The St. Charles Capitals Baseball Club is a select team which competes in the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association (SLABA). The players have to try out to make the team and they do tournaments and participate in showcases.

This episode brought back painful memories for his family, because years ago Matt's brother for whom Tommy was named died after being hit in the chest by a pitched baseball at age eight. 

Tommy never met his name-sake uncle and it was understandable that his dad's heart sank when he saw what had happened. 

"It was very hard to tell his grandma he got hurt," said Tommy's mom Christy Kramer. "But once we explained it, that he was ok, she realized things happen." 

Since the accident Tommy has been sleeping a lot.

"He sleeps and then watches Netflix a little," said his mom. "His sisters are worried about him. Natalie just comes up to him and gives him little hugs."

The students and teachers at Messiah Lutheran School where Tommy goes have been sending things home for him every day since it happened. 

"Every day his sisters come home with cards, candy and good wishes from the school," said Christy.

He had his surgery at 7:30 on Friday morning and according to Christy there were more bones broken than originally thought but the surgery went well and now he will be recovering.  

Billy Mayhall who runs the charity STL Youth Sports Outreach found out about it through a mutual connection and  took to Facebook and started asking all his friends to forward a request to the Cardinals to send some encouragement to Tommy. He asked for people to Tweet at Tommy Pham and tell him about Tommy Kramer.

Thursday morning the Kramers received a phone call from the Cardinals, with the promise of a surprise for Tommy, thanks to Mayhall. They are sending a care package.

Mayhall said STL Sports Outreach is going to give Tommy an autographed Tommy Pham bat that he had saved for an upcoming auction and a television with a PS4 to help cheer him up. 

"We are actually giving it to the team to give to him," said Mayhall. "If they give it to him it will be more fun and really encourage him."

Tommy's mom said he had already forgiven the boy who hit the ball. In fact within an hour of being released from the hospital he was texting him telling him it wasn't his fault and not to worry.

"It was a fluke accident and could have happened with anybody at any time," said Christy. "There's no blame to be had."

It was an accident and accidents happen, but that doesn't help relieve his headache and severe pain in his nose and facial bones area.

Mayhall hopes that by spreading the word, Tommy will get distractions and encouragement all of which will help him recover quickly.

"I have two sons that play travel baseball, and one is a pitcher," said Mayhall. "It's one of our biggest fears as a parent."

Being a catcher, Tommy's favorite players in the Cardinals organization are Yadier Molina and Carson Kelly-- but he also loves Tommy Pham.

Pham had been tagged on Twitter and he replied to the comment with a "thumbs up" and indicated he would come through. Friday evening after the Cardinals have he sent a video wishing Tommy well. He started the video with "Tommy! What a wonderful name, my man!"

Earlier in the day, when Carson Kelly was told what happened and that Tommy was having the surgery, he sent a video on Friday afternoon. 

"Hey Tommy, it's your buddy Carson..." it started and he talked about being a catcher and how he knows that since Tommy is a catcher he must be tough. 

Carson Kelly, Memphis Redbirds catcher

Former Cardinals player Jermaine Curtis, now with the Twins, heard about it and came through for Tommy and immediately wanted to send some motivational words.  Curtis was drafted by the Cardinals in 2008 and was with the organization until 2015.   

Curtis saw the tweets and sent this video,which is worth the watch.

 

Former Cardinal Jermaine Curtis, now with the twins

Christy Kramer was very grateful that Curtis took the time out of his day to make the video and send it. 

"He was gracious enough to send a shout out to Tommy," she said,  "Telling him about his baseball journey and his own baseball injury to help lift his spirits during his healing!"

On Friday a signed picture from the Cardinal's Luke Voit showed up at their door. He had heard of it through Nick Brockmeyer of Platinum Sports in St. Charles.

Though Tommy was still swollen and in a lot of pain, when he saw the picture he smiled the biggest smile he could muster under the circumstances. 

"He's a big fan of Luke Voit!, " said Christy. "I'd like to say thank you to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. We feel so blessed that his injury wasn't worse."

Baseball players of all ages from youth league to the majors suffer injuries on the baseball field.

"This is also a really important awareness for any coaches and players out there on how quick something can wrong," Mayhall said. "Always be aware of the environment around you and know who is doing what and where during warm ups."

It was because of Mayhall's posts that STLSportsPage.com got involved and with Tommy's family's permission, Tweeted and Facebooked out a call to action:

Send him a card

Please join us in sending him a card or note of encouragement. Send to: Tommy Kramer 706 Crooked Lake Court St. Charles, MO 63304. Please share so he will get a lot of encouragement. We have talked to his mother and she gave us permission to do this, knowing the outpouring of love and support will help her son. 

Friday evening he was still groggy and asked that his family keep the lights dim because they bothered him-- but he was happy and appreciative for all the excitement. 

"Even with as much pain as he is in, he can really feel the love," said Christy. "It's been very humbling, Tommy has so many in his corner." 

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More about STL Youth Sports Outreach: 

Billy Mayhall started STL Youth Sports Outreach and everyone who works with the organization is a volunteer. There are no paid employees, yet they have a huge warehouse full of sports equipment and they help children of all ages.

"Our organization is always trying to find good causes to help," said Mayhall. "We are more than just a sports equipment charity."

Time Ezel of "The Thread" did a piece on them a while back and just this week he was out to visit Mayhall again for another segment.