Fan who fell at ballpark will be out of hospital soon

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by CHRIS HAWES

WFAA

Posted on July 8, 2010 at 12:25 AM

Updated Thursday, Jul 8 at 8:35 PM

FORT WORTH — The fan who fell 30 feet from the middle deck at the Texas Rangers game in Arlington Tuesday night was moved from the intensive care unit to a regular room at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth Wednesday night.

Tyler Morris, a 25-year-old firefighter for the Lake Cities department, had been trying to catch a foul ball.

Doctors now say he suffered a twisted ankle and fractured skull in the terrifying tumble, but should be released from the hospital soon.

Fellow firefighters attending the game said Morris doesn't remember everything about the accident, but for others who saw what happened, the details are seared in their memories.

It began with the third foul ball of the night headed their way.

"The last one landed behind him," Ben Westcott. "He leaned to grab it and leaned too far, and went over the railing."

Co-worker Kevin Conner also saw what happened, but was powerless to help. "By the time we got to the railing, he was already on the ground. It was about a 30-foot fall."

Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers president Nolan Ryan went to JPS Hospital to visit with Morris. "He did remember, he said, one of his friends trying to grab him," Ryan said.

Conner was understandably apprehensive about what he would find when he reached his friend. "You're thinking the worst; you're thinking you're going to get down there and it's going to be really, really bad," he said. "They were praying for him."

"One of the captains that was there said that was probably one of the worst things he's seen in his 30-year career," Westcott added.

But when the firefighters reached their friend, he was not only alive — he was talking.

"He said, 'I got a headache and my ankle hurts,' and, 'get me to the hospital,'" Conner said.

Morris's friends said Wednesday that Morris was still talking — though he felt a little woozy from medication.

During his hospital room visit, Ryan had a souvenir for Morris: The foul ball that started it all.

"He's got some guardian angels looking after him," Westcott said.

E-mail chawes@wfaa.com

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