INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A woman who said her skull was fractured by a baseball during a 1998 Indianapolis Indians game returned Sunday to Victory Field to take her engagement photos.
Kourtney Forrester posed on the field with her fiancé, Kyle O’Rourke, and her 8-year-old son the day after another child was hit by a baseball at the downtown stadium.
The “young fan” was struck by a foul ball Saturday during the Indians’ game against the Gwinnett Stripers, according to a team statement.
The unidentified child was treated on-site by medics and transported to a local hospital with undisclosed injuries. Team representatives and sources close to the family declined to comment on the child’s condition Sunday night.
“When I heard about it, I just thought, ‘Oh my gosh,'” said Forrester. “I hope that he’s okay. I would love to be able to go see this child and his family to let them know there are people out there who’ve been through this.”
Forrester was hit in the head by a home run ball when she was 9 years old, she told News 8.
The resulting injuries required surgery at Riley Hospital for Children and kept her out of school for months, she recalled.
“I had a shattered skull, a blood clot on my brain and I had major surgery,” she said. “I’m lucky that I’m here today to talk about it.”
Although she made a full physical recovery, Forrester said the incident left her “traumatized” and scared to attend baseball games, including her son’s Little League events.
She developed coping techniques over the years to continue supporting her baseball-loving family.
“When I come to a game, I have to sit right behind home plate,” Forrester explained. “It’s the only place I feel safe. And even then, hearing the bat hit the ball, I still get jittery.”
O’Rourke, who described baseball as “a big part of [their] lives,” said he was determined to help his then-girlfriend overcome the decades-old trauma by replacing painful memories with a positive field experience.
He proposed to Forrester in August at a Little League Baseball game. An engagement video provided by her mother shows O’Rourke kneeling on the third-base line as her son and his teammates cheer.
“I want to make the worst day of your life the best day of your life,” O’Rourke declares, looking up at Forrester. “Will you marry me?”
He grew emotional as he retold the story Sunday at Victory Field. The stadium felt like the best place to celebrate their engagement, he explained, as well as his fiancée’s evolving relationship with their favorite sport.
The couple, however, won’t be tying the knot on the field.
“We did have to plan the wedding for after baseball season,” O’Rourke said, laughing.
Forrester grew serious as she discussed her lingering safety concerns and reaction to Saturday night’s game. Her family had suggested adding protective netting around the entire field after she was injured, she told News 8.
“It hasn’t happened, unfortunately,” she said. “And now somebody else is injured.”
The Indians upgraded safety netting in 2017, a team spokesperson said.
“Our thoughts are with the entire family [of the injured fan],” the Indians said in a statement.