NOCATEE, Fla. – A Florida man died this weekend after an incident that happened earlier this month on a softball diamond in Nocatee.
News4Jax was told Greg Fusco was pitching in a slow-pitch softball game and a batted ball hit him in the temple. News4Jax was told Fusco died Sunday.
In the wake of his death, the slow-pitch softball community is in mourning and in the midst of making decisions on safety.
"This tragedy has happened and it has resonated throughout the slow-pitch softball community, not just in the United States," International Slow Pitch Softball Commissioner Manuel T. Ferrero III said Monday.
Ferrero said he met Fusco about a month ago, and the people who fill diamonds on the weekends and weeknights have been stunned by Fusco's death.
"I just hate that it took so long, and it took a tragedy for us to open our eyes," Ferrero said. "Now, we're being reactive instead of proactive."
At Field No. 3 in Treaty Park in St. Augustine, the pitcher's mound is 50 feet away from home plate. And while the game is called softball, the ball use is clearly a hard object.
A local player told News4Jax that Fusco was pitching at Davis Park in Nocatee when he was hit in the head by a batted ball.
Ferrero said Fusco's death is a tragic opportunity to educate players and update the rule book for his league.
"Rule 3.5 -- we're going to call it the Greg Fusco rule. Pitchers are now required to wear masks, and if they don't, then they're going to have to sign a waiver and release any type of liabilities if they get injured or hurt," Ferrero said. "I mean, we just want to educate them. Guys, you have to wake up tomorrow. You have to go to work tomorrow. You have family. You've got to go back home. You know, it doesn't matter if you're a macho man."
The event during which Fusco was hit was not part of the International Slow Pitch Softball organization, but Ferrero’s league and others are taking note and taking action.
A GoFundMe page set up for the Fusco family says Fusco had been married less than a month, and had just returned from his honeymoon when the tournament took place two weeks ago.