Posted by: Bob Gorman | June 1, 2016

Survey of Deaths and Injuries

The May/June 2016 issue of Current Sports Medicine Reports (pp. 132-133) has the results of a study of fan injuries conducted by doctors Mark R. Zonfrillo, Nicholas G. Janigian, and Bradley A. Maron entitled “Death or Severe Injury at the Ball Game”.  Not only did these researchers conduct an internet search of reported fan injuries at MLB games from 2009 to 2014, they also sent surveys to all 30 MLB teams in an attempt to determine which teams tracked fan injuries.  Unfortunately, they found what I and others have found, i.e., MLB is resistant to providing exact figures as to the number and nature of injuries to spectators at major league parks.  To quote the doctors’ findings, “For the survey, of 30 team representatives contacted, 63% did not return communications despite multiple correspondences.  Furthermore, of the 11 contacted successfully, 7 declined to answer survey questions citing legal reasons, team policy, or disinterest, whereas none of the 4 teams that acknowledged official record keeping of fan injuries were willing to disclose any further information.”  In other words, the good doctors were stonewalled.  What is organized ball hiding?  Are fan injuries much more common (and severe) than we realize?  If the true extent of the problem were known, perhaps professional baseball would be forced to take greater measures to protect their fans.  Unfortunately, MLB and MiLB have been allowed to hide behind the so-called “Baseball Rule” for over a century and until the courts force their hands, teams have no real incentive to protect their customers.

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