Man recovering from broken neck suffered at Yankee Stadium

Updated: July 14, 2007, 12:24 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- A tourist who suffered a broken neck at Yankee Stadium when another fan fell on him is recovering from his injuries.

Paul Robinson, 53, of Kirkland, Wash., was sitting in the stadium's steep upper deck with his wife and 13-year-old son last Sunday when an unidentified fan standing above him took a violent tumble down several rows of seats.

"His neck is in a big brace. He's not paralyzed. Luckily, the surgery was very, very successful," said Steven Osborne, a spokesman for Montefiore Medical Center. "And this is a miracle, because that vertebrae, if you go a fraction of an inch, you're paralyzed, or you can't breathe."

The man crashed into Robinson's head, breaking his vertebrae, then came to rest in the next row.

"It felt like my head had been ripped off," Robinson told the Daily News from his hospital bed.

EMTs took Robinson to the hospital, where surgeons put a screw in his neck to help it heal.

The man who fell was dragged away by his friends and never bothered to apologize or check how badly Robinson was hurt. The family believes he was drunk.

"I found it odd that they didn't even ask if Paul was OK," Robinson's wife, Kathy, told the Daily News. "It's very steep up there, but if it was an innocent trip, they would ask if Paul was OK."

The family was on an East Coast baseball pilgrimage at the time of the accident. They had planned to go next to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and then head to Boston for a game at Fenway Park.

The accident was similar to one that happened in April during a Mets game at Shea Stadium.

In that case, a 58-year-old woman suffered a broken back when a very large drunk crashed into her during a fall. The woman, who cracked several vertebrae, is now suing the team and its beer vendor.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press