Braves say they're focused on fan safety, 'game day experience'

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Braves say they're focused on fan safety, 'game day experience'

FATAL FALLS AT ATLANTA VENUES

Aug. 29, 2015: Longtime Atlanta Braves fan Gregory “Ace” Murrey fell at least 45 feet from the upper deck, landing on concrete during the seventh inning of a game vs. the Yankees. Investigators have not determined what caused 60-year-old Murrey to fall. But witnesses said he had stood up to boo Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez and lost his balance. Murrey was dead upon arrival at Grady Memorial Hospital.

Aug. 31, 2012: Isaac Grubb, 20, of Lenoir City, Tenn., fell 45 feet to his death during the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between Tennessee and North Carolina State at the Georgia Dome. Grubb, who suffered head trauma, died after being transported to the hospital. His death was ruled accidental. Toxicology tests showed Grubb had a blood alcohol level of .169, more than twice the legal limit, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Aug. 12, 2012: Ronald Lee Homer Jr., 30, of Conyers died after going over a railing and landing 85 feet below in the players’ parking lot. Homer’s family believe his death was accidental, but it was later ruled a suicide by medical examiners, who said a witness saw Homer climb over a railing and jump feet first. Homer, whose blood-alcohol level was approximately twice the legal limit, died from blunt force trauma.

May 21, 2008: Justin Lee Hayes, 25, died when he fell four levels inside the stadium, striking a concrete and metal railing, police previously said. The Cumming man was attempting to slide down a railing next to steps when he fell, his friends said.

The Atlanta Braves said Monday they are “constantly evaluating ways to ensure fan safety while maintaining the game-day experience.”

The statement from the team came two days after Gregory Murrey, 60, tumbled over a railing head first during the top of the 7th inning in Saturday’s game against the New York Yankees. He died of blunt force injuries to his head and torso, according to the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s Office, which performed an autopsy Monday.

The death was ruled an accident by the medical examiner’s office, which also said no underlying medical condition was found that contributed to Murrey’s death. Toxicology results were pending and will not be available for several weeks. It is the third death at the Turner Field, although one was ruled a suicide.

In the statement, the Braves also said team executives are working with architects to “ensure that SunTrust Park has effective safety protocols in place at the time of opening.” It did not provide specifics on what measures will be put in place at the new Cobb County ballpark.

The Braves are scheduled to begin playing in SunTrust Park in 2017.

Here is the Braves statement:

“First and foremost, the thoughts and prayers of our organization and all of Braves Country continue to go out to the family and friends of Greg Murrey, as well as to those in the ballpark who witnessed the incident. This tragedy has affected our entire organization and we are still mourning the loss.

“Fan safety is an important topic and is something that is paramount to our commitment to the fan experience. In regard to Turner Field, our organization is constantly evaluating ways to ensure fan safety while maintaining the game-day experience and we will continue to do so. This includes ongoing planning and training for our personnel, as well as maintaining and updating safety elements inside the ballpark.

“The safety measures at Turner Field are at or above code requirements. In addition, we are always researching best practices in the industry to ensure that Turner Field is safe and is an enjoyable place to watch a baseball game.

“Finally, as we look to the future, we are working with our architects to ensure that SunTrust Park has effective safety protocols in place at the time of opening. This process began during the design phase of SunTrust Park many months ago and will continue every day. We are fortunate to have an architecture firm that has designed many ballparks – and other sports facilities – so we can draw upon their experience as industry leaders in creating the safest and best sports and entertainment experience. Ensuring the safety of our fans while in the ballpark has always been and will always be a priority for our organization.”

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