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4-year-old central Indiana boy recovering after golf ball to the head nearly killed him

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — There may be days when sitting together on the couch, talking about the past and future, may not seem like much.

But the Bowman’s just have to look at the scar on their son, Decker’s head, and look back a few weeks to know that moments like that can easily be gone.

“Deck and my other nephew who is six, had just gotten home from golf camp and they were hitting Nerf golf balls and made their way to the side of the house where they found a real ball, and the six-year-old hit the golf ball,” said Austin Bowman, “And by accident hit Deck.”

The side of his head immediately swelled up.

“The way it was sitting on his head was just really scary,” said Bowman, “We rushed him to the hospital and then after a few hours there, we were home and we were discharged and home.”

However, something happened just a few hours later.

“He woke up, he kind of like foamed on the straw that I gave him.”

Something wasn’t right. So back to the hospital they went. This time for a scan.

“When we saw the scan, the whole room we were sitting in, it went from like professional, it’s okay, I fell down,” Bowman said.

A blood clot was putting pressure on Decker’s brain.

“A head CT scan showed that a very, very large frontal epidural hematoma, basically blood clots, if you will, on the surface of the brain, outside of the membrane that covers the part of the brain called the dura. Between the skull and the dura, there’s a potential space. It’s not supposed to be real space, but when there’s bleeding in that space, it can cause a lot of pressure on the brain,” said Dr. Jodi Smith, Pediatric Neurosurgeon at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

He was rushed to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health and Dr. Smith was rushing, too.

“He was swirling down the drain, so to speak, very quickly,” she said.

He immediately went into surgery.

“I took the bone off and there was at least a fist-sized area of clot on the surface of the brain,” Smith said.

It was the longest four hours of Decker’s dads and especially mom’s life.

“I was on a plane while he was in surgery,” she said.

She had been visiting a friend in Colorado and found a plane with one seat open to bring her back. She got to the hospital not long after Decker was out of surgery.

“It was every mother’s worst nightmare,” Abbie Bowman said.

“In the same token it was interesting that she was gone because I panicked and when Dr. Smith said it was seconds to save his life and that she needed to beat the ambulance or have a chance to save him,” Austin Bowman said.

The timing was right.

“I had no idea. I didn’t know it was seconds from him not making it,” Austin said.

And so was the decision Decker’s dad made to go back to the hospital.

“Had dad second guessed himself, ‘Oh we were already there, there’s probably nothing wrong and Decker went to sleep that night, Decker probably wouldn’t have awakened in the morning.’”

Out of the hospital in just a few days, Decker is now recovering at home. The Bowman’s credit the prayers from the thousands of people who commented and shared a picture of Decker’s injury that was posted on Facebook with helping him recover.

“It was all people caring about my son and I’m not sure which one of their prayers saved his life.”

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