We don't know why a man fell from the upper deck of Turner Field before Monday night's Atlanta Braves game and we don't who the man is, but we do know the tragic ending — he was dead a few hours later in a nearby hospital.
According to an MLB.com report, the man fell 65 feet from an upper-level platform into the private players' parking lot. He was rushed to Atlanta Medical Center where first reports had him in critical condition. He was pronounced dead later in the evening.
From The Associated Press:
"At this time there's no indication of foul play and the fall appears accidental," said Atlanta police spokesman John Chafee. "It appears he fell from an upper-level platform to a secured lot below" ...
Chafee said the fall occurred on the stadium's back side. He said witnesses described the fall as accidental, but that police were not releasing other details of what they said. He said he did not know if wet conditions or alcohol were factors.
The fall happened toward the end of an almost two-hour rain delay before the Braves game with the Philadelphia Phillies, a game the Phillies won 5-1.
This marks the third time an Atlanta-area sports fan fell this year at a game, and the second fan to die from a fall at a Braves game in the past five years. Again from the AP:
Isaac Grubb, 20, of Lenoir City, Tenn. died after falling over a railing at the Georgia Dome during a football game between Tennessee and North Carolina State on Aug. 31, 2012. Authorities said he landed on another man seated in the lower level, and that alcohol was a factor.
A man fell about 25 feet over a staircase railing at a Georgia Tech-Miami football game on Sept. 22, 2012 and was not seriously injured.
In May 2008, a 25-year-old Cumming, Ga. man suffered head injuries when he fell down a stairwell at Turner Field during a game between the Braves and the New York Mets and later died. Police found that alcohol had factored into that accident, which the Braves had said was the first non-medical fatality to happen at the ballpark
Monday's tragedy is an unfortunate reminder of the dangerous nature of major sporting events. While they're usually fun, things can go wrong when you least expect them to — while eating a hot dog, for instance, or walking along the upper concourse at a stadium.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't go to games and root for our favorite teams, it means we should be alert about our surroundings and be careful. It sounds obvious, but it's always worth repeating.
No one — not the players on the field, the people who run the teams nor fellow fans — wants a night at the ballpark to end like this.
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