As It Happens

Husband of Dodgers' fan struck by foul ball hopes her death will spur action on safety

Linda Goldbloom was struck in the head by a foul ball while celebrating her 79th birthday and wedding anniversary at a Dodgers' game last August. A coroner's report has concluded that the blunt trauma caused her death four days later.

More netting needed at stadiums to protect vulnerable spectators from serious injury, says Erwin Goldbloom

Linda Goldbloom at the L.A. Dodgers game where she was struck in the head by a foul ball. She died four days later. Her brother-in-law and sister-in-law are seated behind her on the left. (Earwin Goldbloom)

Transcript

Linda Goldbloom loved baseball. She was an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan.

Last August, while she was at a game with her family to celebrate her birthday and wedding anniversary, she was struck in the head with a foul ball. Four days later, she died. She was 79.

Now, a coroner's report obtained by ESPN says the blow to the head by that ball was the cause of her death. And while Major League Baseball has taken steps to improve safety for fans, her husband Erwin Goldbloom says they don't go far enough.

"We hope that my wife's death will spur — and maybe the media will spur — them to ... make it a more safe environment for people," Goldbloom told As it Happens host Carol Off from his home in West Hills, Calif.

Goldbloom was sitting next to his wife at that game, in the second-level section behind the plate when, at the top of the ninth inning, disaster struck.

"It was a line drive foul ball from the batter," he said. "And it just cleared the top of the screen and hit my wife in the head."

Goldbloom said he believes there is no way his wife could have avoided being hit.

"It was just one of those screaming line drives that ... probably got there in less than a split second," he said. "Nobody in the area could even move. It just came so fast."

After the ball hit his wife, Goldbloom recalls, it bounced off her and struck his brother, who was seated behind the Goldblooms with his wife.

Earwin Goldbloom, left, is fighting for improved safety conditions after the death of his wife Linda, right. (Submitted by Earwin Goldbloom)

Linda was still conscious after being hit, and Goldbloom asked her if she was OK. She answered, "No".

"And then the Dodgers emergency staff came down and looked at her. And she was starting to have a weakening in her left arm and leg," he said.

"They carried her up the stairs because she couldn't walk, and put her on a gurney and took her to the medical first aid office."

The emergency personnel determined Linda needed to go to the hospital. On the way in the ambulance, she began to vomit. She was sedated and administered a breathing tube.

"I don't think she ever regained consciousness from there," Goldbloom said. 

An MRI revealed that Linda would need brain surgery due to bleeding in her skull. She underwent an operation that night, then subsequent surgery two days later. But she did not recover, remaining unconscious.

We hope that my wife's death will spur — and maybe the media will spur — them to ... make it a more safe environment for people.- Erwin Goldbloom

Goldbloom said that both he and his wife opted for Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders in their wills.

"They took the tube out and she passed away at 3 in the morning on Wednesday [Aug. 29]," says Goldbloom.

After his wife's death, he and his family filed a wrongful death suit against the Dodgers franchise.

It was resolved in mediation, he said, adding that the conditions of the arbitration prevent him from discussing the details.

He said his focus now is on improving safety standards in stadiums to minimize the risk of injury and death to spectators — primarily by extending existing protective netting to cover more seating area.

Several San Diego Padres players gather in the infield during a power outage in the 12th inning of the Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press)

Still, despite the tragedy, Goldbloom remains a steadfast fan of the game — and the Dodgers.

"I love baseball. I've been going since I was four years old. I was raised in Chicago, and used to go with my dad on Sunday and sat on his lap," he says. 

"We have the Dodger station on TV. So we watch the games at home that we don't go to. I guess you can say we're Dodger fans."

Interview with Earvin Goldbloom produced by Kate Swoger.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now