Lawsuit: Boy’s brain damaged by wrong Angel Stadium throw

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A 6-year-old boy suffered skull and brain damage after he accidentally collided with a baseball thrown by a Los Angeles Angels player who was warming up before a game at the team’s home stadium. Was. 2019, according to a lawsuit announced Thursday that blames the injury on the team’s negligence.

The suit by the boy’s mother, Beatrice Galaz, states that the team should set more nets along the side of the field and that players should not throw the ball during warmups in areas where spectators could be hit, especially when the team is trying to get fans to try. encouraging you to arrive early. To meet the players.

On September 15, 2019, his son Bryson was walking with his father to the dugout in the first row of the stadium, where players were meeting fans and signing autographs an hour and a half before the game, the lawsuit said. When pitcher Keenan Middleton, who was warming up on the field, hit the side of his head, he threw the ball at another Angels player who missed the catch.

The family’s attorney, Kyle Scott, said Bryson was taken to the emergency room in critical condition and sent to Children’s Hospital to be monitored for 2 1/2 days. Since then, Bryson has done well academically, but has had difficulties with paying attention and social interaction, and medical exams show abnormal brain activity, raising concerns about his long-term development, Scott said. said.

“We are relieved that he survived, but since that day he has struggled at school,” Galaz of Anaheim said in a statement issued Thursday. “He’s just not the same.”

The Angels declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“No parties have reached out to us in relation to this lawsuit,” said Angels spokeswoman Mary Garvey. “We have only been made aware of this by the media, so we are unable to comment at this time.”

The lawsuit, filed on April 1, was announced on the opening day of Major League Baseball at a news conference near Angel Stadium, where the Angels were to host the Houston Astros later in the day.

Getting a baseball at an MLB game is a signature event for any fan, but it can come with a cost. Very rarely, fans sometimes suffer serious injuries from balls or even bats flying into the stands. Angel Stadium and other major league parks have expanded protective nets in recent years to increase security.

In 2015, MLB encouraged teams to install netting or screens that extended in a semi-circle between the ends of the dugout closest to home plate. The push increased in 2017, and by the first day of 2018, all 30 ballparks had netting that reached at least that far.

In late 2019, the league said that some teams would expand the netting. In the same year, a 79-year-old woman died four days after being hit in the head by a foul ball over a protective net at Dodger Stadium. It was considered the first foul ball death at an MLB stadium since 1970, when another Dodger Stadium fan was killed.

Scott, the family’s lawyer, said that since Bryson’s injury, Angel Stadium has extended a section beyond the dugout, but that did not prevent the accident. Taking it further beyond the foul line and warming up the players away from the spectators could have made a difference, he said.

“For the defendant to warm up his pitcher Keenan Middleton and prepare for scheduled play by throwing at a high velocity outside the bullpen and into an area where a wrong throw could kill the plaintiff such as a spectator,” the lawsuit said. ,

Middleton, who is not the target of the lawsuit, left the Angels as a free agent after the 2020 season after the club refused to offer him a new contract. He is pitching in the minor league system of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After the incident, Middleton went to see Bryson crying and the team called for help. An Angels officer followed up with an email, but when the family requested help with medical bills, no one responded, Scott said.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and coverage of medical costs and loss of future earnings.

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Associated Press writer Greg Beacham contributed to this report.

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