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Woman Who Sued Red Sox After Serious Injury Speaks Out

BOSTON (CBS) - Jane Costa had two reactions when she saw what happened at Fenway Park Friday night when a shattered bat flew into the stands and critically injured Sox fan Tonya Carpenter.

"I was like, 'Oh my God, I hope she's OK,'" Costa said.

But Costa's other response was more cynical - and understandably so, she says, once you hear her story.

Related: MLB To Re-Evaluate Fan Safety

"Honestly, my first thing was: good luck. Good luck getting what you need, paying your bills, because I went through all this."

It was September 11, 1998 and then-40-year old Costa had just taken her seat at what was to be the second Boston Red Sox game of her life.

"And I heard the crack of the bat," she said. "And all of a sudden, I honestly thought somebody elbowed me in the face. I couldn't see anything. The pain was excruciating."

Jane Costa
Jane Costa was seriously injured by a foul ball at Fenway Park in 1998 (Courtesy photo)

A foul ball travelling close to 100 miles an hour broke every bone in Costa's face, she says, shattering both of her eye sockets, her cheek bones, and breaking her jaw in three places.

"I never saw it coming, never saw it coming," Costa said. "I heard it, but just never saw it coming."

"To this day I don't see right out of my left eye and I don't hear right out of my left ear," Costa added. "I still have horrible pain in my face all the time. I have permanent nerve damage."

Costa couldn't go back to work. Her bills mounted. In danger of losing her house, she went to the Red Sox - who balked.

She fought with them for six years, until an appellate court in 2004 decided that "the potential for a foul ball to enter the stands and injure a spectator [is] sufficiently obvious," ruling in favor of the Red Sox, and adding that "a person of ordinary intelligence would perceive the risk and need no additional warning."

Tonya Carpenter
Tonya Carpenter is attended to by medical staff after she was hit by a broken bat during a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics in the second inning at Fenway Park on June 5, 2016. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Costa was insulted then, and is angry now that fans at Fenway are still susceptible to the danger she was.

"You need to know that if something bad happens when you're there, you're on your own," she warned. "You're absolutely on your own."

"I think they need to take responsibility," she said of Sox management. "I think they need to man up and when somebody gets that hurt and it affects their life for the rest of their life, do something, you know do something."

WBZ reached out the team for a response to Costa's story and received the following e-mailed statement in reply:

"All of us with the Boston Red Sox continue to extend our best wishes to Tonya Carpenter, who was injured by a broken bat at Friday night's game. The well-being of Tonya and her loved ones are forefront in our minds. Major League Baseball will re-examine fan safety at ballparks, and we will fully participate in that process."

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