A Buffalo News sports reporter has died after he was paralyzed in a fall down a steep press box staircase two weeks ago.
Tom Borrelli died of complications at about 5:30a.m. Thursday. He had been hospitalized in critical condition since he was hurt covering a high school football game Nov. 8.
The 51-year-old reporter had scaled about a dozen metal stairs to the All High Stadium press box before apparently striking his head on a steel girder and falling backward.
Borrelli, who was nicknamed “Ox”, had a gruff exterior but was known by his colleagues as kind-hearted and a huge practical joker.
Borrelli graduated from Buffalo State College and worked at newspapers in Ohio, West Virginia and Binghamton before returning to Buffalo.
Borrelli’s coverage of the Buffalo Bandits lacrosse team made him the first sportswriter inducted into the National Lacrosse League Hall of Fame.
“He was probably one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met,” said Craig Rybczynski, vice president of communications for the Rochester Americans and Rochester Knighthawks. “He was the consummate professional and helped me a lot when I first started with the Knighthawks as to what the expectations for the media are.”
Rybczynski said he and Borrelli, who was a stats freak, would try and outdo each other whenever Rochester and Buffalo played indoor lacrosse games.
“We used to go back and forth to see who could come up with the most obscure facts,” Rybczynski said.
Borrelli’s wife, Karen, works in the Buffalo News sports department and his father, George, is a retired Buffalo News political reporter.