Ellen Massey always counted being struck by a baseball or a bat at Shea Stadium among the hazards of being a Mets fan, but she never thought a 300-pound man would come crashing down the stands -- and onto her.

That's what the Manhattan resident, 58, said happened on Monday, Opening Day at Shea.

Shortly after the seventh-inning stretch, she said, a man dressed in a green Army-type jacket tumbled from higher seats and onto her back, knocking the wind out of her and, ultimately, causing serious injury.

"I only know he came flying," Massey, 58, said Wednesday from her bed in Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx. "I was literally not able to breathe for about half-a-minute or so. The first thing I was aware of was not being able to breathe, and then when I was able to breathe I was aware of the pain in my lower back."

Massey, who is a lawyer, is scheduled for surgery on a vertebra on Friday. After she was injured, she said, she was attended to by two emergency medical technicians who were in the stands watching the game, and then by Shea's own medics, who stabilized her head and neck area and took her to a local hospital.

She was transferred to Jacobi on Wednesday.

A Mets spokesman declined to comment Wednesday night.

Massey's nephew, Peter Rubens, 35, of Brooklyn, said the first sign that something was amiss was a splash of beer flying onto her at about 4 p.m., then a bump from the man, who is unidentified.

"We were sitting and watching the ball game," he said. "And in a split-second a rather large person, a man, came sort of tumbling down upon us and basically landed on my aunt's head and neck."

Rubens said he couldn't make out distinguishing features of the man, who got up quickly and left. The nephew said he was most concerned at the moment about his aunt, who had begun gesturing that she couldn't breathe.

Going to Opening Day at Shea has become a family tradition for him and his relatives, a ritual dating back two decades, Rubens said.

Massey, who said she goes to six or seven games a season, said she started going to the opener with family two years ago.

"I have to say that in going to a baseball park, the only fear that has ever entered my mind is that I'd get hit by a hard ball," she said.

"I didn't expect a 300-pound human missile to hit me in the back. That doesn't come up on my list of fears."
Copyright 2007 Newsday Inc.