Emergency workers help Judith Reese after she was hit with a foul baul during the Rockies' 2012 home opener. Credit: Dave Zalubowski/The Denver Post.
A fan who was injured by a foul ball is carted off the field during the fifth of the game between the Colorado Rockies and the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-US PRESSWIRE
As the Rockies home opener got underway, Judith Reese was just another face in the crowd - just another fan cheering on her team.
"My friend Kim and I have gone to opening day for years," Reese said.
Reese had a great seat this year - third row, third base line.
At the bottom of the fourth inning, Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer hit a foul ball that bounced into the seats along the third base line.
"Yeah I saw the ball obviously off my bat. I saw the stands kind of part ways and then - boom. Saw it hit the head," Cuddyer said.
Reese remembers the seconds before she was hit.
"Watching the game and all of a sudden that ball came flying so hard it hit me in the side of my temple, in the side of my head. And I guess I passed out. And all of a sudden there were lots of nice people around me taking care of me and calling an ambulance," Reese said.
The game was delayed for about five minutes as Reese was loaded onto a back brace and lowered to the field, where a cart was waiting.
Reese was at the game celebrating a special day.
"I turned 69 today. I think it's a happy birthday. The only bad thing, two bad things, I didn't get to finish the game and then the Rockies lost," Reese said.
Reese never got to hear the Rockies birthday song friends her arranged for her.
A Rockies representative told Reese she can come back to see a full game anytime she wants.
"Everybody's been so kind. It could have been a lot worse," Reese said.
Reese doesn't know what happened to the ball that hit her, but she hopes to get a souvenir ball to mark her unforgettable 69th birthday.
She may have started the game as just another fan, but now Reese will always be remembered as a woman who - literally - took one for the team.
Reese was taken to Denver Health Medical Center to undergo tests.
"I want to thank the fans, the paramedics and the community for their instant support," Reese said.
Reese suffered a concussion and bruised head.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)