Thursday, September 4, 1997
Fan recovering from fall

BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

fan in hospital
Curtis Staker, 38, of Loveland is in good spirits as he recovers from a fall from the right field stands Monday.
(Saed Hindash photo)
| ZOOM |

Curt Staker remembers the ball approaching, the scramble for position, the smack in the webbing of his glove - and then the sense that he was in very serious trouble.

Next thing the die-hard baseball fan from Loveland recalled was falling 15 feet to the concrete behind the right-field fence at Cinergy Field Monday.

Dazed, he looked up to see Reds outfielder Deion Sanders kneeling over him, saying, "Hey man, talk to me, talk to me, I'm prayin' for ya."

"You read about these kinds of things, but it's always someone else," Mr. Staker, 38, said Wednesday from Good Samaritan Hospital, where he is being treated for a shattered elbow, four broken ribs, a punctured lung and three fractures in his back.

fan falls
Curtis Staker falls from the first row of the right field seats.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |

Mr. Staker, at the game with his sons, Lucas, 17, and Joshua, 13, was upgraded Wednesday to good condition and hopes to go home by the weekend. Surrounded by family, he said he feels fortunate he's alive - and grateful for the support, especially from the Reds.

His wife, Jennifer, was returning from Indianapolis that day and didn't learn of the fall until coming home to a barrage of calls on the answering machine.

"I felt myself going pale," she said of the tape.

The Reds sent a bat and ball autographed by Eddie Taubensee - whose home run Mr. Staker felt was his "as soon as it came off the bat." The team will autograph and send to him the ball he caught - then lost as someone knocked the glove from his hand.

The fall forced Mr. Staker to miss a business trip to India Tuesday for Structural Dynamics Research Corp. of Miami Township, where he is a vice president.

But there is another important meeting he is determined to make: Sept. 22. The Astros are in town.

He's already got tickets.

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