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Archive for Friday, May 17, 2002

Pirates defend disabled seating area

May 17, 2002

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— The Pittsburgh Pirates plan no changes to seating for people with disabilities after a woman in a wheelchair was hit in the head by a home run.

The woman, seated behind a protective railing in right field, was struck by Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Steve Finley's homer Wednesday night.

The woman, who was not identified, received several stitches in the head but otherwise was not seriously injured. The Pirates said Thursday that she was recovering at home.

The Pirates said the accident was unfortunate, but not uncommon, and defended fan safety at PNC Park, which opened last year.

Designers went beyond the requirements under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and won an award from the United Cerebral Palsy Assn., Pirates spokeswoman Patty Paytas said.

"I believe we have a very safe environment at PNC Park. We have not had any difficulties in particular with things like this," Paytas said. "We are more than comfortable with the seating for our guests with disabilities. ...

"The purpose of our seating plan is that people with disabilities are included. We don't rope off a section and say 'This is where you have to be.' You can go anywhere you want in this park."

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