Friend: Rangers fan who fell has no internal injuries

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by Staff and Wire Reports

WFAA

Posted on July 6, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 8 at 12:01 AM

FORT WORTH — A firefighter is still hospitalized but in good spirits after taking a 30-foot plunge while leaning to catch a foul ball at a Texas Rangers game.

Tyler Morris, who works at the Lake Cities Fire Department near Dallas, was attending Tuesday night's game with friends.

Kevin Conner says Morris suffered a head injury and sprained ankle but no internal injuries, and he was joking with friends and family Wednesday. Conner says Morris is expected to be released soon from a Fort Worth hospital.

Conner says his 25-year-old friend grabbed the railing briefly as he tumbled from the second deck at the Rangers Ballpark and didn't fall on his head.

Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers' president, took the foul ball to Morris in the hospital Wednesday.

Four other fans suffered minor injures when Morris fell on them in the bottom of the fifth inning in the contest with the Cleveland Indians.

The Rangers' Nelson Cruz hit the ball into the first row of seats at the Club Level.

Witnesses said Morris cartwheeled through the air as he fell to the field deck.

Video of the incident was not broadcast, but gasps from the crowd, umpires and announcers could be heard as the accident happened.

One of the first persons to come to Morris' aid was Derek Dilday, an off-duty paramedic.

"He was breathing hard; probably the wind got knocked out of him... No bleeding," Dilday said. "He was trying to move his neck, but I was trying to hold his neck, so movement is good and he seemed OK."

Emergency personnel carried Morris away on a gurney at about 8:35 p.m. He was rushed to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth for treatment.

Rangers broadcaster Josh Lewin reported that four other people who were hurt in the incident were being treated at the Ballpark.

Emergency personnel were quick to respond and had removed the man within 10 minutes. Four other fans who were injured by his fall were treated at the first-aid station in the ballpark and were not transported to the hospital.

One of the injured, a boy, suffered a bruise to his face, said Ryan.

The game was stopped for 16 minutes, and several players on the field looked shaken. The Rangers won 12-1.

"It was amazing; it was unbelievable, it really was," Dilday said.

The game resumed shortly after 8:45 p.m. Cruz singled to left field, and Vladimir Guerrero was thrown out at home to end the inning.

Cruz wasn't available after the game. Masterson said he saw the fall and thought it might have affected some of the players.

"I'm sure in some way it did," he said. "It's not something you see at the ballpark, and you never want to again."

Said Indians manager Manny Acta: "It was just tough to watch. It didn't affect the outcome of the game at all, but I think the guys were pretty relieved when we got news that the guy was conscious and he was OK.

"I think everybody went back to normal when we got news that he was conscious because we were anticipating something worse. A fatality could have happened there, and you don't want to be a witness to it."

On April 11, 1994, at the Rangers' first official game at The Ballpark, Hollye Minter, 26, of Plano was posing for a photo on the upper-deck railing in right field when she fell about 35 feet onto a front-row seat below.

After Minter's fall, the Rangers posted hundreds of warning signs on railings and replaced the original 3 1/4-inch railing on the upper deck with one 46 inches high.

Minter, who suffered a broken arm, two broken ribs and fractures to bones in her neck, sued the Rangers, the city of Arlington, a Dallas architectural firm and a Washington, D.C., architect for $200,000 after the incident.

The Dallas Morning News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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