Streak of fall injuries at sports stadiums raises concerns

Attending a professional or college sports game can be an incredible experience. Between the action on the field of play and the excitement of thousands in the stands, there is a lot fun to be had. However, a pattern of fall accidents at sports stadiums throughout the country this year might have people wondering just how serious fan safety is taken at the facilities.

This year, at least five fans have been injured or died as the result of injuries sustained of while falling at a football stadium. For example, a New York football fan injured himself and another spectator when he slid down a railing at the Buffalo Bills’ Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Furthermore, when looking at fall incidents at Major League Baseball parks since 1969, a total of 23 people have died. In fact, three of those deaths occurred at New York’s Shea Stadium.

One observer notes that there seems to be a connection between the growing size of stadiums with the frequency and severity of fall accidents. As the arenas grow in size, so do the heights from which spectators can fall. Falling down a large stairwell, for instance, could certainly cause a catastrophic injury.

Keeping in mind the size of today’s sports stadiums, those who manage and maintain the property should keep safety efforts in mind. For example, after two fans fell from the outfield bleachers of the Rangers Ballpark in Texas, adjustments were made to guardrails.

If a fall accident on the premises of a stadium is caused by inadequate or improperly maintained safety features, then the property owners and managers could be held accountable. Sports fans attend games with the expectation of being entertained, rather than winding up in the hospital with a serious injury.

Source: Atlanta Daily World, “Stadium Deaths: What’s Behind the Fatal Falls?” Tom Watkins and Lateef Mungin, Nov. 26, 2013