Seriously Injured Red Sox Fan in Stable Condition

by Gordon Watkin | Posted on Sunday, June 7th, 2015
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tonya carpenter fenway injury

The Boston Red Sox fan injured by an errant bat during yesterdays game against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park has had her medical status upgraded to serious but is in stable condition. Tonya Carpenter suffered horrific facial and cranial injuries with her husband and son sitting on either side of her, when Brett Lawrie‘s broken bat struck her travelling at dangerously high speeds. Fenway went silent, with screams of anguish and panic even supplanting the voice of Athletic’s broadcasters on television. Several minutes elapsed, Carpenter was removed from her seat in a gurney, and she was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The family asks at this time for privacy, but updated their loved one’s health status to serious, but stable this morning. This tragic incident is a true blemish on Major League Baseball, who have been dismissive of protective netting in the past, and may have no other choice but to extend mesh down the first and third base lines to avoid such an incident from occurring again.

Seeing situations such as this unfold last night should resonate with all as a moment of context. Witnessing such a disturbing, grotesque scene at a venue all baseball fans have come to love and worship truly eclipses the magnitude of the game, and puts emphasis on life and those we share it with, not who won or lost (at least I didn’t care to look up the score of the game upon reading the initial reports as my thoughts and prayers instantaneously were extended to the horrified relatives who were obliged bystanders of the event).

Not only should Major League Baseball be worried about extending the meshing down the foul lines, but the Players Association will surely be taking a close look at how the situation is handled and will certainly raise issues of player safety in broken bat situations during the next GM meetings. The distance the bat travelled to come into contact with Carpenter was longer than if a pitcher or corner infielder had a bat thrusted in their direction. Not only would this leave less time for players to react, but the speed it comes into contact with the athlete would be faster and has a higher propensity to cause further injury. I find it incredibly disappointing is has taken an occurrence like this to reiterate the importance of fan safety at sporting events. The Columbus Blue Jackets had a fan succumb to injuries suffered by a deflected puck, and immediately became the NHL’s first team to extend mesh around the end boards. Another example of reacting rather than being proactive.

Baseball is a strategic game that requires mental stamina and perseverance. Seasons are long, cold streaks feel insurmountable but some how and some way every year seasons come and go, and have done so for over a century. The sport is beloved world wide, with many young children emulating their favourite players and aspire to follow in their footsteps; But incidences like yesterday provide a much needed context, and should (and I presume has) be a formidable reminder that baseball is a small piece of a composition called life, and is not larger than life itself.

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Gordon Watkin
About the Author

Gordon is a Sport Management graduate from Brock University. He has a background playing professional soccer, but is an avid sports fan particularly of the Cleveland Indians. Follow Gordon on Twitter @GordonWatkin.

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