NEW YORK (AP) - Paul Robinson headed home Monday, about a week after suffering a broken neck at Yankee Stadium when another fan, possibly inebriated, fell on him.
``Obviously this wasn't the way we were planning to leave New York when we arrived 10 days ago,'' said Robinson, standing during a news conference outside Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. ``Even though we had an awful eighth inning ... I feel fortunate to be leaving New York on my feet and I am determined to recover fully.''
Robinson, 53, of Kirkland, Wash., was in the steep upper deck of the stadium with his wife and son on July 8 when an unidentified man above him fell down several rows of seats. The man landed on Robinson and broke his vertebra. The family believes the man was drunk.
John Houten, director of spinal neurosurgery at the hospital, said Robinson's neck broke at the point where his spine supports his head.
``It is one of the most dangerous places in the spine to have a fracture,'' Houton said. ``Mr. Robinson was very, very fortunate.''
Robinson underwent surgery to have a screw placed in his neck. Houten said he'd probably have to wear a brace for one to three months.
The baseball-loving family had planned to go next to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and then head to Boston for a game at Fenway Park. Instead, Robinson, his wife Kathy and 13-year-old son John got into a car Monday to take a flight home, paid by the Yankees.
``They've been very helpful and we appreciate that,'' Kathy Robinson said. The Yankees did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
``We hope to continue our East Coast baseball vacation in the future, under a little more normal circumstances,'' Robinson said.
A similar event took place in April during a Mets game at Shea Stadium. A 58-year-old woman suffered a broken back when a very large, drunken man crashed into her during a fall. The woman, who cracked several vertebrae, is now suing the team and its beer vendor.
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