A Foul Ball That Smacked a Girl Sitting in the Stands at an Astros Game Cracked Her Skull, Family Attorney Says

By Web Staff

The 2-year-old girl struck by a foul ball last month during a Chicago Cubs game against the Astros in Houston sustained a fractured skull, subdural bleeding, brain contusions, and brain edema, the family’s attorney said on June 26.

The girl’s injuries prompted some Major League Baseball teams to reexamine how far protective netting should extend.

During the May 29 game, Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. hit a line drive into the field-level seats on the third-base side at the Astros’ Minute Maid Park. The girl’s seat was just beyond where the netting ends at the edge of the visitors’ dugout.

The crowd let out a collective gasp when the ball struck the child. Almora was distraught, throwing his hands behind his head immediately after seeing the impact.

A young child is rushed from the stands after being injured by a hard foul ball
A young child is rushed from the stands after being injured by a hard foul ball off the bat of Albert Almora Jr. #5 of the Chicago Cubs in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on May 29, 2019. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Attorney Steve Polotko said Wednesday that the girl had a seizure at the hospital and has to take medicine to prevent more seizures. She is still recovering at home from her injuries, he said.

The girl, who has not been named, will be reassessed in July, he added.

The Astros said they are respecting the family’s request for privacy.

“The Astros continue to send our thoughts and prayers to the young girl and her family,” the team said.

Last year, Major League Baseball announced that all 30 ballparks were extending protective netting to at least the far ends of both dugouts—that is, the ends farthest from home plate—intending to enhance fans’ safety. Some franchises go beyond those dimensions. Recently the Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers said they would have additional netting installed.

‘In Tears After Foul Ball Hits Child’

Even after the game ended, Almora still seemed close to tears as he haltingly answered questions for WMAQ.

“Just the way life is,” he said. “As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes on was her.”

After the fourth inning, Almora approached a security guard to get an update on the little girl, according to Today.

“Right now I’m just praying and I’m speechless,” he said. “I’m at a loss for words.”

Previous incidents

Fan Celebrating Birthday Was Killed by Foul Ball

A woman died as a result of being struck in the head by a foul ball at a baseball game in August of last year, according to a coroner’s report obtained by ESPN.

Linda Goldbloom was celebrating her 79th birthday and 59th wedding anniversary at Dodger Stadium on Aug. 25 when a ball hit by a San Diego Padres player flew over the protective netting and struck the woman in the head.

“Ushers came down and asked if she was all right, and she said no, then EMT came and rushed her to the hospital—she threw up in the ambulance,” Goldbloom’s daughter, Jana Brody, told ESPN.

The mother of three and grandmother of seven was rushed to the hospital for treatment. For three days, Goldbloom was unresponsive, Brody said, except when a nurse saw her move one finger one time upon being asked if her name was Linda. Her eyes never opened at the hospital, and a ventilator kept her breathing.

Four days later, at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, she died.

Tragedy at Sports Events

While incidents involving loss of life on the part of spectators at sports events are relatively rare, there have been notable cases of fan deaths.

A shocking sports death occurred on July 7, 2011, when a man attending a baseball game with his 6-year-old son fell 20 feet headfirst onto the concrete while trying to catch a baseball tossed to him by one of the players.

Shannon Stone, a 39-year-old firefighter from Brownwood, Texas, was still conscious after the fall and told paramedics his son was still in the stands, according to Business Insider. Stone was rushed to the hospital and later pronounced dead.

There have also been notable instances of mass casualties.

About 50 people were killed at a Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, soccer match in 2005, in what the Institute for Justice and Democracy (IJDH) in Haiti called a “massacre.”

The aim of the Play for Peace soccer game, sponsored by USAID, was to steer young people away from gang activity, but the peaceful match turned bloody when police and machete-wielding accomplices entered the stadium and began to target suspected criminals.

“Some people were shot and killed by police,” according to IJDH, citing witnesses and family members, “while others were hacked to pieces by the machete-wielding civilians.”

Anne Sosin, a human rights observer at the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, said: “These killings set a dangerous precedent. How can you explain police accompanied by individuals armed with machetes massacring spectators at a soccer match with UN troops standing by literally across the street?”

Tiffany Meier, Tom Ozimek, and The CNN Wire contributed to this article.

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