In the past, when Dr. Matthew Masiello’s injury-prevention speech turned to gun safety, he told of a Pittsburgh boy who wrote President Clinton about guns in his neighborhood and later died from a gunshot.

His new example will be more personal.

Masiello’s 5-year-old son, Jason, was injured by a gunshot during a soccer tournament June 24 at Benscreek.

“It was a life-changing moment for my family,” Masiello said at his Office of Community Health in Memorial Medical Center’s Lee Campus.

“As a physician and a pediatric critical-care doctor, I’ve seen all of this throughout my career,” Masiello said. “When it hits home, it’s very different.”

Clearly holding his emotions in check, Masiello described the wrenching series of events that began when bullets whizzed down from a hillside into a the crowded Kidsport soccer complex off Somerset Pike. Masiello was walking to his older son Matthew’s soccer match when head official and medical colleague Dr. Rick Schroeder came running through, yelling for people to clear the fields.

“Usually when that happens, you are expecting thunderstorms,” Masiello said. But Schroeder told him Jason was struck in the arm by gunfire. Masiello rushed to the refreshment tent, where Jason had been playing near his mother, Kathy, the Hilltop American Youth Soccer Organization commissioner.

“There was chaos and panic up at that soccer field,” Masiello recalled. “There were parents who put their children on the ground and covered them with their bodies to protect them.”

Even before police had suspect Lawrence Lampel Jr. in custody, most on the field had heard about Jason’s injuries.

“Jason was a mascot to many of the kids,” Masiello said. “Some of the older kids took it very hard.”

He praised tournament leaders, paramedics and Memorial’s emergency staff for their help with Jason. The bullet tore through muscle and bone in the child’s right arm and shoulder.

Jason has been out playing and kicking soccer balls. The boy is expected to make a full recovery, Masiello said.

He is concerned about traumatic effects in other kids.

“There is not just one victim in all this,” he said.

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