Reporter returns to Rockies after frightening injury

June 22nd, 2022

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding's Rockies Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert was working in an unprotected area near the home dugout when she was struck in the forehead by a foul ball while working the Giants-Rockies game at Coors Field on May 16. Incredibly, this was the second time she has been hit. She had previously sustained a fractured lower orbital in 2018, when she was a reporter on Braves telecasts.

But Wingert -- whose injury this time required stitches and follow-up plastic surgery -- reappeared on the broadcast Friday full of gratitude, and newly wedded to Casey Linch.

Here is her first-person account of the incident:

“The story is how well the network and the Rockies took care of me. They did things they didn’t have to do.

“Somebody asked me, ‘Was it painful? You don’t even feel any pain because you’re thinking, ‘Do I have brain damage? Do I have a fracture to the skull? What do I look like?’ You’re so overwhelmed with the unknowns.

“The Rockies got to me so quickly, took me back to the treatment room, took care of my anxiety with any medication I would need, called an ambulance, took me to [Swedish Hospital] and called in a facials plastic guy. [Abe White, a physician’s assistant, did such a thorough job that Wingert’s plastic surgeon in Atlanta, Dr. Paul P. Daraei, called with compliments.] They didn’t want a random person stitching me up, knowing that I work in television and it needed to look good. It didn’t need to be done.

“It was such an emotionally overwhelming day -- in the best way.

“They immediately called my dad. Charlie Blackmon had done a podcast with my father-in-law back in December. After I got hit, Charlie went back -- after knowing me personally for a month -- through all his emails, found one from my father-in-law, looked in the signature for the phone number, and texted Casey’s family to let them know what had happened, so they didn’t find out on social media.

“Randal Grichuk, who was my friend from high school [in Texas], came back in the training room with me because I just needed a familiar face. The head trainer had called my dad. On his way home, Randal called my dad and said, ‘She’s OK. She’s speaking. She’s conscious. She’s very anxious but OK.’

“Our producer, Alison Vigil, rode in the back of the ambulance with me. Our GM, David Woodman, and his wife put me and my mom up in his house until I was cleared to fly.

“The wedding was really special. I do think that being able to be home, relax, and catch up on rest allowed me to be way more present. And it was baseball-themed. Our seating chart was a wall of baseballs. People’s last names were written on one side of the baseball, and it had their table numbers. Our cake had a baseball design that looked like it was chunked into the cake. We had a hype video.

“People always say it’s the best day of their lives. It really was.

“When I got back to work, they put me on a chair that’s about a foot and a half higher, and put that on a pallet that’s another five inches so now pretty much my whole body is protected by netting. The Rockies were so proactive in making sure I was comfortable.

“I just have so much gratitude for how it was handled.”