A 6-year-old boy suffered a fractured skull and brain damage when he was accidentally hit by a baseball thrown by a Los Angeles Angels player warming up before a 2019 game due to the team’s negligence.
The lawsuit from the boy’s mother, Beatrice Galaz, says the team should have more nets on the sidelines and players should not throw balls into areas where spectators could get hit during warm-up, especially if the team is encouraging fans to appear early to try and hit players.
On Sept. 15, 2019, her son Bryson walked with his father in the front row of the stadium toward the dugout, where the players met and signed autographs with fans more than an hour and a half before the game, the lawsuit says. He was hit in the side of the head when pitcher Keynan Middleton, who was warming up on the field, threw a ball towards another Angels player who missed the catch.
Bryson was rushed to the emergency room in critical condition and taken to a children’s hospital for monitoring for two and a half days, said Kyle Scott, the family attorney. Since then, Bryson – now in third grade – has done well academically but has trouble paying attention and with social interaction, and medical tests show abnormal brain activity, raising concerns about his longer-term development, especially as school subjects become more complex. said Scott.
“We’re grateful he pulled through, but he’s been struggling at school since that day,” Galaz, from Anaheim, said in a statement released Thursday. “He’s just not the same anymore.”
The angels declined to comment on the lawsuit.
“We have not been contacted by either party regarding this lawsuit,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said. “We were only made aware of this by the media, so we cannot comment on it at this time.”
The lawsuit, filed on April 1, was announced on Major League Baseball’s opening day at a press conference near Angel Stadium, where the Angels were scheduled 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 at a cost. Although very rare, fans sometimes suffer serious injuries from balls or even bats flying into the stands. Angel Stadium and other major league parks have expanded safety nets to increase safety in recent years.
In 2015, MLB encouraged teams to have nets, or screens, that extend in a semicircle between the ends of the shelters closest to home plate. That push picked up in 2017, and by opening day 2018 all 30 stadiums had nets that reached at least that far.
In late 2019, the league said some teams would extend the network. This is the same year afour days after he was hit in the head by a foulball that sailed over a protective net at Dodger Stadium. It was believed to be the first foulball death at an MLB stadium since 1970, when another Dodger Stadium fan was killed.
Also in 2019 a 2-year-old girl was thereduring a Chicago Cubs-Houston Astros game. 2020 Family Attorney She had a “permanent” brain injury and could potentially take medication “for the rest of her life.”
Scott, the Galaz family attorney, said since Bryson’s injury, Angel Stadium had extended the net a section beyond the shelter, but that would not have prevented the accident. He said extending it further along the foul line and not letting the players warm up by throwing the ball towards the stadium seats could have made a difference.
Keith Bruno, another family lawyer, said it wasn’t immediately known how fast the ball was moving when Bryson was hit. While event tickets often include a disclaimer, Bruno said he didn’t think that would apply to a pre-game availability, which the team encouraged fans to attend.
“It’s not about putting kids in a bubble or ensuring the safety of everyone who comes into the stadium,” said Bruno. “This is about taking sensible action and protecting the most vulnerable that we have from known threats.”
Middleton, who is not the target of this lawsuit, left the Angels as a free agent after the 2020 season when the club refused to offer him a new contract. He plays in the Arizona Diamondbacks minor league system.
After the incident, Middleton went over to check on a crying Bryson and the team called for help. An Angels official responded with an email, but when the family asked for help with medical bills, no one responded, Scott said.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and recovery of medical expenses and loss of future revenue.