Foul balls at baseball games have caused 808 injuries to fans since 2012, ranging from concussions to permanent vision loss to the death of a 79-year-old grandmother last year at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, NBC News reported Tuesday.
The grandmother was celebrating her birthday when she was hit during the game with a foul ball — and other injuries have resulted from home runs and batting practice.
Fans were also injured as they tried to catch balls flying into the stands, NBC reports.
However, "I think the number is a lot higher than people realize," author Bob Gorman told NBC. He wrote the 2008 book, "Death at the Ballpark," which examines the history of ballpark fatalities.
"I think the teams know it," Gorman added. "I think they've intentionally downplayed it."
Major League Baseball officials, along with those from the league's 30 teams, declined NBC requests for information on ballpark injuries.
Some teams said they do not track that data, while others cited privacy issues.
NBC News arrived at the 808 figure from combing over lawsuits, news reports, social media postings, and "information from the contractors that provide first aid stations at MLB stadiums."
In addition, only agencies at four parks provided records of their emergency responses to fan injuries, but those four agencies provided 701 reports of injuries from baseballs hit into the stands.
NBC then found 107 more reports after reviewing lawsuits and the other outside information involving the 30 MLB teams.
"The physics of getting struck with a baseball can be brutal," NBC reports. "Baseballs are hard, weigh about five ounces and are nine inches around, roughly the size of a fist.
"In the major leagues, they can fly off the bat of the best hitters at more than 100 miles an hour," the report continues. "At that speed, they can strike a fan about a second after leaving the bat."
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