- Associated Press - Thursday, July 8, 2010

FORT WORTH, TEXAS (AP) - Texas Rangers fan Tyler Morris said Thursday he’s thankful to be alive _ and ready to attend another game _ after tumbling about 30 feet from second-deck stands while trying to catch a foul ball.

Morris, 25, said his face is swollen and his foot is in a brace after he suffered a fractured skull and sprained ankle at Tuesday night’s game.

“Physically, I do hurt, but you know what? I’m very thankful. I’m progressing and I’ve gotten a lot of support from so many people,” Morris told The Associated Press by phone while a friend drove him home from the hospital.

Morris said he remembers reaching for the foul ball that landed about four rows back and bounced toward him. But he said he misjudged how close he was to the railing and fell to the ground-level seats, landing on four people who suffered minor injuries.

“I remember grabbing onto the rail … and then falling,” he said. “The people under me may have taken the impact off. I’m sorry they were hurt, but if it weren’t for them, I may not be talking to you right now.”

Morris said he was scared when he regained consciousness in the ambulance, because as a firefighter with the Lake Cities Fire Department near Dallas, he has responded to emergencies where people had fallen such distances and suffered severe injuries or had not survived.

“It’s terrifying for someone who treats these injuries and knows the usual outcome,” Morris said. “My head was hurting so bad and I knew I had been unconscious for a long time.”

Morris said he may be off work for up to 6 weeks, depending on how quickly his injuries heal.

He called the incident a “100 percent, total accident that could have happened to anybody” and said he does not blame the Rangers or the ballpark.

He said he was thrilled to meet Hall of Fame pitcher and team president Nolan Ryan, who gave Morris the foul ball during a hospital visit Wednesday. He said Ryan has invited him to more games.

“I’m ready to go back,” Morris said.

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