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Don’t Throw Safety Out the Window With On-Field Celebrations

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We all know that playing sports can be dangerous. Most of us, however, don’t think of sitting in the stands as a very risky activity. And that’s true so long as you stay in the stands. As a recent college football game in Oklahoma teaches us, too much celebration — and too much on-the-field-celebration, in particular — can be dangerous.

Last Saturday, December 2, Oklahoma State’s football team played long-time rival the University of Oklahoma at their home field in Stillwater, Oklahoma (OK). And to the great excitement of the hometown fans, Oklahoma State won the game. Unfortunately, that excitement got a little out of hand: by the end of the night, at least 12 fans were injured, including one who had to be airlifted to a hospital.

As ESPN reported, those injuries occurred after Oklahoma State clinched its victory and members of the 58,000 person crowd started storming on to a field not equipped to handle nearly that many people. As thousands of people rushed onto the field, the pressure from the crowd grew and exit paths were unable to handle the flood of people. As a result, many individuals were trampled or pushed and shoved around. It took authorities at least 45 minutes to restore order in the area. All of this despite the strong warnings from the announcers to not storm the field.

Crowd mentality can sometimes be a dangerous catalyst. While there’s a lot to be said for fan unity at sporting events, cheering your team on and sharing in the joys and defeats, there may come a time when you need to put your own safety above your dedication to the team. Rushing the field or the basketball court, or the stage at a concert depending on the circumstances can create a dangerous mob that is sure to result in injuries. So at the end of the game, leave that crowd mentality behind and make sure you celebrate in a more constructive way.

About the Editors: The Shapiro, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm, which has offices in Virginia (VA) and North Carolina (NC), edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as pro bono services.