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Iowa baby struck by softball may have suffered brain damage

A post on the young girl's Facebook page shows her mother holding her on Mother's Day for the first time in almost two weeks.
Credit: Special to The Des Moines Register
McKenna Hovenga

ROCHESTER, Minn. - Doctors say an infant may have suffered brain damage when struck by an overthrown softball at her father's game in northeastern Iowa.

Mayo Clinic physicians in Rochester, Minnesota, have been balancing various medications as they treat 8-week-old McKenna Hovenga, whose skull was fractured. She was struck while in the arms of her mother, Kassy, on May 2 in Shell Rock, some 95 miles (150 kilometers) northeast of Des Moines.

A post on the Healing for McKenna Facebook page says doctors have pinpointed her seizures to two areas of the brain that appear to have been damaged, areas related to motor skills and development. The extent of any damage remains unclear.

Another post says Kassy was allowed to hold McKenna on Mother's Day for the first time in 10 days.

The family released a statement Monday, saying in part, they are overwhelmed by the support they've received.

"The kindness and love shown to our family this past week is greatly appreciated as we continue to hope and pray for healing for McKenna. We are so thankful and deeply moved by the generous support and the uplifting messages that we are receiving from friends, family and those we do not know, but now consider our friends.

At this time, we are uncertain what the outcome of this will be. We have to take everything that is happening hour by hour. Her status is constantly changing. Our little McKenna is a fighter, and we are hopeful she will continue to fight to overcome this. We look forward to sharing her smiling face as soon as she will give it to us!

Thank you, again, for the outpouring of support and prayers that have carried us through this past week. We will continue to update the blog and Facebook account with periodic updates."

For those asking how they can help, there is a donation link on McKenna's page. This is the only donation link, according to family, who posted about a GoFundMe page that was circulating but is not connected to the family in any way.

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