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07/07/10 9:23 PM ET
Fan in 'good spirits' after frightening fall
Texas firefighter has fractured skull after ballpark scare
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Tyler Morris, a firefighter from Crawford, Tx., suffered both a fractured skull and a fractured ankle as the result of a 30-foot fall from the club level to the lower seating bowl at the Ballpark in Arlington on Tuesday night. Morris remains hospitalized at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth where he was visited by Rangers president Nolan Ryan on Wednesday morning. "He was in very good spirits," Ryan said. "He's a die-hard Rangers fan. He grew up a Ranger fan, he grew up in the area and hasn't lost any enthusiasm about the Rangers." Morris, who was attending the game with a group of fire-fighters, fell while trying to catch a fifth-inning foul ball hit by Nelson Cruz. The ball first soared over his head and then caromed back toward him. Morris told Ryan that he remembers reaching for the ball, it tipping off his fingers and then he fell over the side. "He doesn't have recall as to what happened to cause him to lose his balance," Ryan said. Morris hit the ribbon-board on the facade of the private suites directly beneath the club level and then fell into the stands below. He landed mainly on a man and a woman sitting in the stands. That may have cushioned the blow to prevent worse and possibly life-threatening injuries. "I think anytime somebody falls that distance, my expectations were worse than what we saw today," Ryan said. "We were very fortunate. My thought was we had some serious injuries on our hands." There were four fans who were injured from Morris' fall, mainly suffering cuts and bruises. All received attention at the Ballpark and declined to go to the hospital. Morris was immediately treated by on-site paramedics and other medical staff, put on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. He has undergone multiple tests including two CATscans. "I was extremely pleased with the job that our paramedics did in getting to the scene, stabilizing him and getting him on the stretcher," Ryan said. "The ushers and the security personnel also did a great job securing the scene so they could do their jobs and get him out of there." Morris ended up with the baseball. A fan retrieved it, gave it to an usher and Ryan was able to give the baseball to Morris. Ryan also gave him an autographed Josh Hamilton bat and some other Rangers gifts. "He was thrilled to get (the baseball) as much as anything," Ryan said. The first rows in the Rangers upper decks are fronted by a railing that is 30 1/4 inches high. That is four inches higher than the building code for a facility like the Ballpark, Ryan said. The railing is 42 inches in front of the aisle-ways and 46 inches high in the second deck of the Home Run Porch in right field. Ryan said Rangers executives met on Wednesday morning to discuss all aspects of what occurred, from the response of the paramedics to possible additional safety measures needed. "When the Ballpark was built, (the railings) were built above (specifications) so we feel good about that," Ryan said. "We feel this was strictly an accident. It's unfortunate that it happened but it's difficult to guard against." Ryan said there could be additional signs and warning posted but nothing has been decided yet.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.