HOUSTON — A paramedic struck in the head by a foul by last fall at Minute Maid Park is suing the Houston Astros for $1,000,000, citing physical pain and mental anguish.
It was a scary few minutes at Minute Maid Park last October when Brian Cariota was hit during Game 2 of the ALCS against the Yankees.
The lawsuit alleges the foul ball off the bat of outfielder Michael Brantley was going 108 mph when it struck the dugout paramedic on October 13, 2019.
The game came to a halt and fans sat in stunned silence as players and coaches gathered around Cariota.
He was rushed to the hospital where he was treated for a traumatic brain injury, brain bleed and facial fractures.
“Due to the dangerous condition created by a lack of netting to protect workers in the dugout, plaintiff Brian Joseph Cariota suffered a serious injury when a foul ball struck above his left eye,” the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit alleges the ball caused permanent damage to Cariota’s retina, as well as lifelong vision issues and post-concussion syndrome.
The Astros extended the protective netting at Minute Maid Park a few months earlier after a 2-year-old girl suffered a skull fracture when she was struck by a foul ball. Her family later said she has permanent brain damage.
There is no netting over the dugouts at Minute Maid.
It’s not clear if any pther MLB teams protect the dugouts with netting.
But attorneys for Cariota claim the Astros didn’t install netting because it would have partially obstructed the view of the opposing catcher’s signs. That’s a reference to the scandal where the Astros were caught stealing signs in 2017 and 2018.
“If you are stealing signs from the opposing catcher, you need a clear and unobstructed view,” the lawsuit alleges. “The last thing a team engaging in sign stealing signs wants is a safety net protecting the dugout.”
A few days after the Cariota incident, another foul ball hit a college student in the mouth during the ALCS Game 6 at Minute Maid. He was treated for a bone fracture and had to wear a stent for awhile because his teeth were pushed back.
We reached out to the Astros but they said they don't comment on pending litigation.