Toddler sustained permanent brain damage from foul ball at Astros game, says attorney

May 29, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; A young fan is taken up to the concourse to receive medical attention after being hit by a foul ball by Chicago Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. (5) during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
A foul ball off the bat of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora created an awful scene at Minute Maid Park. (Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports)

A toddler who was struck in the head by a foul ball at a game between the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs in May is still being treated for a brain injury that could affect her for the rest of her life, her family’s attorney told The Houston Chronicle.

The two-year-old also reportedly suffered a skull fracture from the ball, hit off the bat of Cubs outfielder Albert Almora at Minute Maid Park. She reportedly still continues to receive anti-seizure medication, with the brain injury’s impact on her central nervous system described by doctors as equivalent to a stroke.

From The Chronicle:

“She (the child) has an injury to a part of the brain, and it is permanent,” Mithoff said. “She remains subject to seizures and is on medication and will be, perhaps, for the rest of her life. That may or may not be resolved.”

Other symptoms mentioned in the report include staring spells, periods of unresponsiveness, night terrors and frequent headaches.

It remains to be seen if she has cognitive deficits from the injury, which reportedly occurred when she was sitting in her grandfather’s lap just beyond the third-base netting in the park’s field-level seats.

“She is able to continue with much of her routine as a girl her age would do, but her parents have to be particularly vigilant, as they are,” they attorney added. “She has wonderful parents and is receiving wonderful care. They obviously are concerned, but she is blessed with a family that is doing relatively well, considering everything.”

No legal action has yet been filed against the Astros, Minute Maid Park’s operators or MLB.

MLB has made more changes to foul ball netting

The child’s injury was arguably the worst of several incidents that spurred a number of MLB teams to extend their stadiums’ foul-ball netting beyond the dugouts. Among those teams was the Astros, who extended the Minute Maid Park netting far into the outfield in August.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced at the winter meetings that all 30 teams will have extended netting for the 2020 season, reaching “substantially beyond the far end of the dugout.”

A recent study found that over 800 fans have been injured by foul balls since 2012, a number MLB needs to cut down.

Such a change has been supported by the MLB’s players, especially Almora. The Cubs outfielder was visibly distraught after the incident, and later said he wants to put a net “around the whole stadium.” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark also called for extended netting in the aftermath of the death of a fan struck by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium.

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