NORTHGLENN, Colo. – With a big smile on her face and an incredible story to tell, Judith Reese talked about the birthday she’ll never forget.
Reese, 69, a retired pharmaceuticals employee, was celebrating her 69th birthday with friends at the Colorado Rockies home opener on Monday when a foul ball struck her in the head, sending her to the hospital.
“When it happened...it happened so fast, and it hit me so hard,” the longtime Rockies fan told FOX31 Denver on Tuesday, displaying a slight bruise on the right side of her head, above her ear.
Reese was enjoying a beautiful spring day, mingling with friends and other fans and eating pistachio nuts when Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer stepped to the plate in the fourth inning to face San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito.
“It was really funny because the guy sitting (next to me) had this big ole’ glove and I said to myself ‘Hey, we’re covered.”
But glove or not, fans aren’t expected to make plays like the pros. So when Cuddyer hit a sharp line drive into the lower level seats behind 3rd base, Reese had little time to react.
“He was trying to (catch the ball) and it went past his hand...and then hit me and knocked me right out,” Reese recalled.
When she started to regain consciousness, Reese saw fans and police rushing to her aid, including a woman who said she was a nurse and a girl “who had her hair in my face,” she joked.
The game was halted for five minutes as paramedics placed Reese on a stretcher and then carted her off the field in the fifth inning.
“They put me on that board and that kind of freaked me out because I thought there was something really wrong with me.”
Thankfully, Reese only sustained a concussion. She was treated and released from Denver Health Medical Center.
She looks forward to returning to the ballpark soon. Her message to other fans, especially those sitting in the lower level seats, is a simple one: