Thousands of people filter into various sporting stadiums across the country to experience the joy of watching their favorite team play a game. These events take place on a near constant basis for a wide variety of sports in all different types of stadiums. Typically, these cheerful events take place without any serious incidents occurring during the time of the game. Perhaps there will be an altercation or two or an exchanging of strong words, but usually everyone goes back home unscathed at the end of the evening. In light of the recent tragic event that happened at an Atlanta Braves game however, safety standards within stadiums are calling for a review to prevent any future tragedies from occurring.
A 60 year old man fell to his death from the upper deck at Turner Field in Atlanta on Saturday night while the Braves played a game against the New York Yankees. The man has been identified as George Murrey from Alpharetta, Georgia. According to witness reports, George Murrey fell at least 40 feet from the top deck of the stadium onto the concrete floor of the first level below. Fans in the proximity of where Murrey had been sitting have said that the man fell over when he was attempting to yell onto the field at Alex Rodriguez—a practice that many in the stadium also partook in at the same time. “When they called A-Rod coming to bat, he got all excited, and his momentum took him over,” said Marty Burns, a fan who witnessed the accident take place.
Paramedics immediately rushed to George Murrey’s aid and began to administer CPR in an effort to save the man’s life. Witnesses have stated that it appears as though George Murrey landed headfirst on the concrete and that pools of blood could be seen on the ground around him. One witness stated that there were quite a few children in the area when the accident occurred, and a lot of fans made the decision to leave the stadium for the evening following the man’s death. A lieutenant for the Atlanta Police department said that their initial investigation into the incident supports the idea that this was simply a tragic accident. Lt. Charles Hampton has stated that the Atlanta Police department is urging fans who witnessed the matter to contact them immediately in an effort to help them determine exactly what took place on Saturday evening.
Turner Field in Atlanta is all too familiar with fatal falls taking place within their stadium. In 2013 a 30 year old man leaped to his death from over 85 feet above a parking lot outside of the arena. Though his family believes that his death was an accident, officials have stated that it was in fact a suicide that took the life of Ronald Lee Homer Jr. Before Lee Homer Jr. took his own life in 2013, the ballpark experienced another fatal incident in which 25 year old Justin Hayes fell to his death after an alcohol related incident at the park in 2008.
Other stadiums for various sports teams have experienced similar accidents in recent years, most recently a woman was struck by a broken bat at Fenway Park and suffered serious injuries. Additionally, two fans died in separate incidents in 2011 after both victims suffered falls in Colorado and Texas. A 2 year old child fell to their death at a Lakers game in 2010—a growing epidemic that seems to be plaguing stadiums across the country. Players and fans alike are starting to call for reforms in safety standards in an effort to preserve the joy of the occasion and to reduce the risk fans take when they enter a stadium. While every arena offers messages of safety concerns and urges fans to stay alert and attentive the entire game in order to prevent injuries, accidents can still happen any time.
There have been a number of proposals in recent years of ways that could increase fan safety during attendance at a sporting event. The most popular idea is to expand the net coverage placed around the stadium in order to ensure maximum coverage for the fans. Baseball players like Justin Verlander agree that would be a step in the right direction in terms of preventing future injuries. “…those low liners, they catch us off guard in the dugout and we’re Major League Baseball players. We still get hit. So, everybody else can be in serious danger.” The solution might not be as simple as it sounds, but it would be a start that seems to be universally acknowledged.
The terrible accident that took place in Atlanta that claimed the life of George Murrey is highlighting a number of issues for stadiums and fans alike—especially since the Braves did not choose to suspend the game when paramedics were working to save Mr. Murrey’s life. Many fans expressed their immense displeasure at the Braves organization’s lack of action following the death of a fan at the stadium. One individual tweeted the following “Still blown away that the guy who fell at Atlanta game last night has died, Braves didn’t even stop play either, condolences to his famiky [sic]” Going forward, the hope is that stadiums provide further security to their fans and respect for these individuals during times of tragedy.
Additional quotes and information may be found at the following link: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/fan%E2%80%99s-fatal-fall-reignites-issue-of-safety-at-games/ar-AAdL131?li=BBgzzfc?ocid=ansmsnnews11