Fans see safer environment at Colts game
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — When football fans returned to Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, they noticed a few changes.
The wobbly railing that collapsed after last week’s game had been replaced and bolted down. The awning above the visiting team’s tunnel was raised about two feet and more security staffers were stationed around the tunnel.
Stadium officials promised fans would be safe, and those who returned to the section where two fans were injured last week could see the difference.
“Oh, yeah,” said Doug Bunch of Reynolds, Ind. “And there’s more security.”
Seven security workers were positioned around the tunnel in the stands and three more were on the field level around the tunnel.
On Friday, Barney Levengood, the executive director of Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis Convention Center, said “every nut and bolt” on a railing inside the stadium had been inspected.
Witnesses said two football fans were leaning against the railing, trying to convince Raiders safety Charles Woodson to toss his gloves to them. When he did, they landed on the awning; the fans reached over to get them and the railing collapsed. Both fans tumbled about 10 to 15 feet onto a hard walkway that leads to the visiting team’s locker room. Bunch saw it happen.
One of the fans was treated for injuries at the stadium and released. The other was treated at the stadium, then transported to Methodist Hospital in Indy. Levengood said later that the injuries did not appear to be serious.
But stadium officials did not release names of the injured fans and Methodist Hospital could not provide an update on the second fan without a name.
“It sounded like a gun going off,” Bunch said. “I guess the bolts broke. One guy kind of rode the railing down and the other guy was in a Raiders jersey and he landed right on his head.”
One fan in the section where the accident occurred walked over to the railing Sunday and shook it to see how sturdy it was. It didn’t move, which is what Levengood and others had sought.
“We’ve gone through every permanent handrail from the suites to the terrace level to the club sections, every railing in the building, and we are confident we have a safe and secure atmosphere for our game this weekend,” Levengood said Friday.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org