Celebration of life Sunday for Ramona teen who dies after softball hits him

King Sue Kohler, Taylor Dorman's mother, listens during a candlelight vigil held at Ramona High School on April 11 as her son's friends describe their sorrow, one day after the 16-year-old died. Sentinel photo/Jessica
King Sue Kohler, Taylor Dorman's mother, listens during a candlelight vigil held at Ramona High School on April 11 as her son's friends describe their sorrow, one day after the 16-year-old died. Sentinel photo/Jessica

By Maureen Robertson

A celebration of life will be held Sunday, April 21, at 1 p.m. in Dos Picos Park for Taylor Dorman, Ramona High School sophomore who died April 10 after a softball hit him in the chest during a morning physical education class.

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It was his 16th birthday.

“Taylor left us far too soon,” states a flyer announcing the Taylor Dorman Memorial Fund at Bank of Southern California, 1315 Main St.

Donations to assist his family may be made at the bank in his mother’s name, Susan Kohler.

Taylor was playing over-the-line, a game similar to softball, with classmates when he was accidentally struck in the chest with the ball about 11:20 a.m., the county medical examiner’s office reports.

“There was a line drive hit off the bat of another student, said Ramona High School Principal Tony Newman. The hit caused complications, Newman said, and about 20 minutes later he collapsed.

Prior to his collapse, Taylor appeared fine and even joked about the hit, school officials said.

According to the medical examiner’s report, Taylor developed shortness of breath, then became unresponsive and had seizure-type activity. Sheriff’s deputies and Ramona Fire Station 80 paramedics responded to the school’s 9-1-1 call.

Paramedics found Taylor in ventricular fibrillation. They initiated advanced cardiac life support, and a Mercy

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Air helicopter transported him from the football field to Palomar Medical Center. He died in the hospital at 3:40 p.m., the medical examiner reported.

That evening, friends gathered in front of the high school to pay tribute to Taylor. They arranged candles in the shape of a cross, and placed flowers, passages from the Bible, notes, cards, and other memorabilia, including a Magic Marker, pens, pencils, and a teddy bear at the base of a tree in front of the school.

Counselors and psychologists have been at the school to assist students and staff in need.

“He was a great young man,” said Newman. “He was very well-liked by many on campus. This will have an impact on students and staff. We will remember some good memories and keep them alive in our hearts and our thoughts and our conversations.”

Regarding the boy who hit the line drive off the bat, Newman said, “We are concerned about him as well. We’ve been in contact with his family. Our hearts are going out out him as well. It was an accident and it was not his fault.”

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Newman described the ball that hit Taylor as a “soft softball” made of synthetic leather with a rubber core. The school has suspended playing over-the-line and will re-evaluate it at a later date, he said.

“We think that’s in the best interest of everyone now,” he said.

Friends organized a candlelight vigil the evening of April 11 and held a birthday party to honor Taylor in Ramona Oaks Park on Friday evening.

Taylor’s mother said the medical examiner told her Taylor had myocarditis, a condition his father David Dorman died of about 18 months ago.

“It’s a viral or bacterial infection,” she said. “He said he couldn’t really tell and would send some slides to the

CDC (Centers for Disease Control) to see if he could determine exactly what caused the myocarditis.”

She said she and her family appreciate all the love and support they’ve received.

“I can’t believe what an outpouring of support that we have,” she said. “It means so much. I love going to those events and getting all those hugs...It felt like it was Taylor hugging me.”

She understands the teddy bear drawings and the stuffed teddy bear at the shrine in front of the school.

“I think that’s symbolism of Taylor and his big teddy bear hugs — some called it grizzly bear hugs,” she said, explaining that at 6 feet 2 inches tall and 250 pounds, “He wasn’t a little teddy bear. He was a big teddy bear...He was just a big soft and warm teddy bear.”

Talking about the outpouring of concern from friends and the community, she said, “He did something good on this earth. He accomplished his goal.

“I can’t thank Ramona enough, and my family and friends. Without them, I don’t think I’d get through this, but we’re going to. We have to.”

   
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