An outpouring of grief and support has opened up in the Comox Valley in the wake of the tragic death of a young father there. Thirty-two-year-old Chris Godfrey died in hospital Wednesday, 11 days after he was hit in the head by a ball in a slo-pitch tournament.
Courtenay slo-pitch diamonds were quiet Thursday as players like Breana Morgan considered the tragic death of one of their own.
“I can’t say how deeply this has affected our entire community,” says Morgan. “We knew how bad it was but at the same time we kept holding out for hope that things were going to come out okay.”
Thirty-two-year-old Chris Godfrey, a loving husband and father of a one-year old, died in a Victoria hospital Wednesday after being fatally injured during a slo-pitch game in Courtenay on Aug. 19. Just moments after hitting the ball and starting his run to first base, he was hit in the back of the head by a wild throw.
“Hit the ball run to first base, we never could have seen that coming,” says Morgan.
Now the community is rallying to support Godfrey’s wife and child. A GoFundMe page has already raised more than $40,000.
Donations from across Vancouver Island are adding up too, including sets of team jerseys from West Coast Athletics in Victoria to be raffled off at a slo-pitch tournament in Powell River this weekend.
“To fundraise for the family,” says Westcoast Athletics Don Dawson. “To to help out as much as we can. This accident could happen to any of us. I think that’s why so many people are being affected by this one. It’s not, it could just happen to anybody,” he says.
Since Godfrey’s accident, helmets are now mandatory in the Comox Valley Slopitch League, but his fellow players are taking it a step further to pay tribute to him. Their helmets are now emblazoned with Godfrey’s nicknames and jersey number. Now other leagues are also following suit with making helmets mandatory
“I can’t think of a single event that has brought the community together faster and more wholly than this,” says Morgan. “It’s been incredible. Within our ball community and beyond that.”