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Twelve die in Algeria celebrations

Fox Sports 11/20/13
Algerian authorities say 12 people died and 240 were injured during celebrations of Algeria’s 1-0 victory over Burkina Faso that sent the country’s team to the 2014 soccer World Cup in Brazil.

A government statement Wednesday said that five celebrating fans were killed when a van slid off the road into a ravine in the mountain town of Bejaia, east of Algiers, while four others died in the southern city of Biskra in a car accident.

The remaining three died in other towns, the statement added without further details.

All across Algeria people poured into the streets to celebrate their team’s qualification for the World Cup, with young men driving their cars down the streets and honking their horns, despite heavy rain in the north Tuesday night.

3 stadium workers die

Fox Sports- 11/27/13

Part of the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup opener in Brazil collapsed on Wednesday, causing significant damage and killing three people, authorities said.

The accident could delay the delivery of the stadium in Sao Paulo by FIFA’s December deadline to have all 12 venues ready. Work was immediately halted at the Itaquerao Stadium, which was practically completed before the collapse.

Television images showed a huge metal structure buckled atop the stadium, destroying part of the stands in the east side of the venue. A LED panel installed outside the venue also was hit.

Firefighter official Mauro Lopes said in a radio interview that at least three people died in the accident, which apparently happened when a crane collapsed on top of the metal structure. The crane was installing what was the last part of the structure.

Some local media quoted authorities saying two people were killed.

The accident happened at lunchtime, so not a lot of workers were on site at the time.

The stadium will seat nearly 70,000 people for the opener on June 12. The venue is scheduled to host other five matches, including a semifinal. It was initially expected to be built for the Confederations Cup this year, but delays with financing for the venue prompted authorities to scrape the stadium from the World Cup warm-up tournament.

Brazilian club Corinthians, which owns the stadium, released a brief statement ”lamenting” the accident.

Constructor Odebrecht said it was already investigating what happened.

Brazil is running against time to deliver the last six World Cup stadiums by the end of the year, although work at the Itaquerao was advanced compared to the other venues.

”FIFA and the LOC have learnt of the death of workers at the Corinthian’s Arena site in Sao Paulo with great sadness,” FIFA said in a statement. ”We wish to send our heartfelt condolences to the family of the workers who tragically died today.”

Football’s governing body said the ”safety of workers is the top priority” to World Cup organizers.

”We know the safety of all workers has always been paramount for all the construction companies contracted to build the 12 FIFA World Cup stadiums,” it said in a statement. ”The local authorities will fully investigate the reasons behind such a tragic accident.”

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said he was ”deeply saddened by the tragic death of workers” at the Corinthians stadium. ”Our heartfealt condolences are with the families,” he said.

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said he was ”extremely shocked by the news from Sao Paulo.”

”Our thoughts are with the families of the victims of this accident,” he said.

Buffalo Bills Fan Falls From Stadium’s 3rd Deck; 2 Injured

Buffalo Bills Fan Falls From Stadium’s 3rd Deck; 2 Injured
By Aditi Mukherji, JD on November 18, 2013 5:04 PM

A Buffalo Bills fan fell from the upper deck at Ralph Wilson Stadium during the team’s 37-14 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday. He’s now been barred from the stadium, and may even face criminal charges, Rochester’s YNN reports.

Video footage of the incident appears to show the man sliding down a railing before falling over the ledge — and on top of another person on the second deck.

Both the fan who fell and the person whom he landed on were treated for non-life threatening injuries. But the so-called “Jumper” is now nose-diving into a slew of consequences.

Potential Criminal Charges and Lifetime Ban

Details of the incident are still emerging, but it appears in the video that the man was fooling around before taking his nasty fall. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office says charges are likely and pending, reports YNN.

Like the victim of singer Miguel’s awards show fall, the fan who sustained head injuries could potentially sue the “Jumper” for medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering.

Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon said the fan who fell from the upper deck clearly violated the stadium’s Fan Code of Conduct. As a result, he will not be permitted back into Ralph Wilson Stadium, reports Buffalo’s WBFO-FM.

Stadium officials may be using the lifetime ban as an attempt to paint the fan as the sole liable party. But if the fan is eventually sued or criminally charged, his lawyer could potentially try to argue that the stadium’s owners are also at least partly responsible.

Premises Liability of Ralph Wilson Stadium

Like any other venue, Ralph Wilson Stadium can potentially be sued under a theory of premises liability, with the fan possibly claiming that his fall was due to an unsafe feature of the stadium’s railing.

Although the incident may have resulted from horseplay, if stadium officials were aware of the risk of rowdy fans potentially falling from the upper levels, then they could potentially be held liable — for example, for failing to create a sufficient buffer or barrier such as a higher railing.

There’s also a chance the stadium could “land” in hot water for other reasons, such as not having a safety net installed. After all, from Atlanta’s Turner Field to Houston’s Reliant Stadium, the phenomena of fans falling — in some cases, to their deaths — is not terribly unheard of.

Despite his potential legal repercussions and lifetime ban, the Buffalo Bills “Jumper” should be counting his lucky stars. Just a few months ago, a similarly aged 49ers fan plunged to his death at Candlestick Park.

Fans falling at stadiums

At least 39 spectators have fallen at stadiums in last decade
At least 39 fans have taken spills in stadiums in last 10 years; 14 have died
By Gene Warner | News Staff Reporter
on November 19, 2013 – 9:25 PM, updated November 20, 2013 at 12:39 AM

Perhaps the most tragic incident occurred in July 2011. That’s when a Texas man died from injuries he suffered after falling nearly 20 feet from the stands while trying to catch a baseball tossed by then-Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton toward the man’s 6-year-old son.

The two most recent deadly cases came in the last few months, when fans fell to their deaths from an elevated pedestrian walkway at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park on Sept. 8 and from the upper deck at Atlanta’s Turner Field on Aug. 12.

Sunday’s far less tragic incident here, with one fan tumbling about 20 to 25 feet from the 300 level and landing on another fan in Ralph Wilson Stadium, was just the latest case of fans being injured or dying in falls at large public sporting events.

In the last decade, since July 2003, there have been 39 cases in America of people falling either from one seating level to another or down a stadium staircase, escalator or elevated walkway, according to the Institute for the Study of Sports Incidents. Those cases don’t include fights, assaults or other violent acts among fans.

Fourteen of those 39 incidents led to someone dying.

“The 14 people who died weren’t going there thinking this was their last day,” said Alana K. Penza, the institute’s director. “It’s not that many deaths, but with one death, we need to review it and see what can be done.”

The institute and the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, both affiliated with the University of Southern Mississippi, analyze such incidents at public sporting events, while also encouraging leagues, teams and stadiums to enact changes that make such injuries or deaths more avoidable.

The 14 deaths may surprise people, but that’s also 14 out of probably a few billion people who have attended public sporting events across the nation in the last 10 years.

In Sunday’s incident at Ralph Wilson Stadium, 28-year-old Robert Hopkins of Grand Island slid down a railing before falling down to the second level. Hopkins apparently lost his job as a digital art director at Eric Mower + Associates as a result of his actions.

Penza found four other sliding falls in her list of 39 incidents. But those other four came from falls down staircases, escalators or walkways.

“This is the first one that I have seen where someone slid down a railing in the stands” before falling, Penza said.

In Sunday’s mishap, both Hopkins and the other injured man were treated for a few hours before being released from Erie County Medical Center.

Penza, who was well aware of Sunday’s incident but didn’t profess to know all the details, was asked what might be learned from it.

“I’m sure they’ll look at the railing heights in the area,” she replied. “And if alcohol is involved, how do we keep people who are too intoxicated from coming into the venues?”

But she suggested that the responsibility for avoiding such incidents doesn’t fall completely on teams and stadium personnel. That’s why safety advocates applaud the National Football League teams’ codes of conduct.

“You can’t watch every single individual and protect every single individual,” she said. “You have to put some responsibility on the individual to be responsible for their actions and practice safe judgment.”

And sometimes nobody may be at fault, as with the case at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, on July 7, 2011.

When left-fielder Hamilton threw the first foul ball that night to the ball girl, he heard a fan ask for the next one. He turned around and nodded to Shannon Stone. The next foul ball he got, in the second inning, he flipped to Stone, a local firefighter who fell over the left-field railing to the concrete surface about 20 feet below. He died later at a local hospital.

Less than two weeks later, the Rangers announced they would raise all their protective stadium railings to a height of 42 inches. Previously, the heights had varied, anywhere from 30 to 42 inches, according to media accounts.

In other cases, intoxication remains one of the obvious causes of fans falling from one level to another or down an escalator or walkway. Sometimes, though, police and media accounts of such incidents don’t state whether the person was drunk.

Authorities here have not said whether they believe drinking contributed to Hopkins’ fall, and they pointed out that that might not be relevant in determining possible criminal charges.

Law-enforcement sources have said investigators are eyeing possible third-degree assault and reckless endangerment charges against Hopkins.

Across the nation, the Institute for the Study of Sports Incidents can’t definitively say how many of the 39 falls were alcohol-related. Intoxication was listed as a cause of at least seven of those incidents, Penza said, but she wouldn’t speculate on what percentage might be alcohol-related.

Baseball, at least when it comes to stadium falls, appears to be the most dangerous sport.

Of the 39 such incidents in the last 10 years, 22 occurred at baseball games, 15 at football games and one each at basketball and tennis venues, according to Penza’s figures.

Baseball, of course, is the only sport where fans routinely reach out to catch a souvenir, either a foul ball or home run. It’s part of the magical multigenerational allure of the sport.

“When we think of baseball in America, we think of popcorn and hot dogs and fathers going to the game to catch a foul ball for their child,” Penza said, citing the special father-son bonding in Shannon Stone’s case. “That American dream was shattered by him falling, him dying and his 6-year-old son watching it.

Falls by the numbers

39: Instances of significant falls at stadiums in the U.S. since 2003

14: Fatalities as a result of injuries sustained during those 39 falls

9 of 11: Falls since the start of 2012 that occurred at football games

67%: Amount of time “human action” was listed as the cause of the falls.

Basketball fans assault police

November 2, 2013
Five police officers were injured on Friday night during a basketball game between AEL and Apollon in their mutual home turf of Limassol, which marred by the kind of violence usually seen at football games in Cyprus.

The game was interrupted a few seconds before the end after AEL fans started assaulting Apollon’s coaches and bench players, storming into the court in their hundreds. While about 300 AEL supporters caused trouble on the basketball court, others threw objects into the arena, aiming at police officers, authorities said.

From the five officers injured, four were taken to Limassol General Hospital. Two had neck injuries and one a knee injury and have all been given medical leave while a fourth officer who was hurt on the head has been held over for treatment, police said.

Authorities are mulling a bill to allow the police chief to ban people who cause trouble in matches, with hooligans – usually during football games – readily assaulting each other and police. The justice ministry has said that with trouble even during friendly matches, police needed to take firmer action from training to installing undercover officers during games. With police staff shortages, monitoring every single game on the island is an impossible task, but authorities hope that banning troublemakers from stadiums could help. The justice ministry has said they are looking at software to identify trouble makers, which are often lost in the crowds and never arrested.

Marty The Marmot Attacked by Fans

Marty The Marmot, Canadian Hockey Mascot, Viciously Body-Slammed By Fan (VIDEO)
The Huffington Post | By Ron Dicker Posted: 11/04/2013 3:49 pm EST

This wasn’t part of the act.

Hockey enthusiasts in Canada were outraged after a minor league mascot was body-slammed to the ice by a fan Saturday.

The fan then dragged the mascot by the foot briefly before officials realized the attack was real and escorted the man off the ice, Chek News reported in the video above.

Marty the Marmot, the furry cheerleader for British Columbia’s Victoria Royals, can be seen in the clip conducting musical chairs with four contestants during the intermission of a home game against the Red Deer Rebels. A man in green gets eliminated and apparently becomes angry. He picks up Marty and hurls him backward onto the ground with violent force.

Supporters on Marty’s Facebook page wished the mascot well and demanded that the fan be held criminally responsible.

Victoria police are “likely to recommend charges,” a police spokesman told The Province. (Neither the actor who plays Marty nor the alleged assailant, whom police have identified, were named.)

Marty tweeted his thanks to supporters on Sunday, saying he was “feeling good.”

Fan paralyzed in Rupp Arena fall

Fan paralyzed in Rupp Arena fall grateful for support from UK team, Big Blue Nation

By Jerry Tipton

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 6, 2013

The kindness of strangers, famous and otherwise, consoles the family of Kentucky fan Dick Gregory, who suffered a serious injury in a fall minutes before the start of UK’s basketball exhibition game against Transylvania on Friday night.

Gregory, 73, broke three bones in his neck when he tumbled down seven rows of bleachers in the upper deck of Rupp Arena, his son Scott said Wednesday. He is listed in serious condition at UK’s Chandler Medical Center, where his family holds vigil.

“It’s an awesome thing to go through and have total strangers really care,” Gregory’s sister Beverly Johnson said Wednesday.

UK Coach John Calipari and his players visited Gregory on Tuesday. That was the day Gregory learned the fall had left him paralyzed from the chest down.

“It changed everything,” Scott said of the visit. “He was kind of depressed.”

Calipari prayed with Gregory, who also spoke with the players.

“He was buoyed,” Scott said.

Gregory, who was resting comfortably Wednesday and had begun therapy, described the visit by Calipari and UK players as “pretty amazing.” The UK coach delivered a message of hope.

“He told me he’d be taking Communion every day this week and mentioning my name,” Gregory said. “It meant the world.”

Good news came earlier Wednesday when Gregory passed the “swallow test,” Scott said. He asked for orange sherbet.

Gregory is a retired welder and factory worker who lives in the Louisville area. “He had no health issues,” his son said. “Very physically fit.”

The exhibition against Transy was going to be the first time Gregory’s wife, Mary Alice, had seen Kentucky play in Rupp Arena. “She was so excited,” her sister-in-law said.

Shortly before the national anthem, Gregory and his wife moved along Row J in Section 238, which is in an upper corner of Rupp. “My mom tripped,” Scott said in describing what happened. “He kind of steadied her.”

Mary Alice fell to her knees along Row J, but Gregory lost his balance and tumbled down the bleachers. He came to a stop in Row C.

His family wondered what difference it might have made if the bleachers had not been practically empty. If packed with people, the next row of fans surely would have prevented Gregory’s tumble.

Many fans who were there rushed to help. Before an emergency medical team arrived, doctors who happened to be in the stands nearby performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and inserted a breathing tube.

“I could just feel a good presence,” Gregory said. “I could feel people praying and hear them. It was quite the thing.”

For its home games, UK provides first aid and medical assistance. Bill Owen, president and CEO of Lexington Center Corp., said falls are inevitable given the 800,000 to 900,000 patrons who visit Rupp Arena each year. “But we have a very low, minimal number of such instances,” he said. “We regret what happened very much and extend our sympathies.”

UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart helped Mary Alice Gregory find her car so she could drive to the hospital. The family expects Gregory to remain hospitalized until at least the middle of next week. Then the family hopes to move him to Frazier Rehab Institute in Louisville.

Meanwhile, strangers have brought snacks, muffins, sandwiches, gift cards and well wishes.

Said Gregory’s brother-in-law Tom Johnson, “It somewhat helps to know there are so many great people out there.”

Read more here:

USC Fans hurt in field storming

USC Fans Taken To Hospital After Storming Field To Celebrate Win Over Stanford
11/17/13 01:53 AM ET EST AP
LOS ANGELES (AP) — At least three Southern California fans have been taken to hospitals after they stormed the Coliseum field following the Trojans’ 20-17 upset victory over No. 5 Stanford.

USC spokesman Tim Tessalone says three fans were taken away. One fan had an injured leg, while another a blood pressure concern and a third had a medical issue related to diabetes.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokeswoman Katherine Main says 10 people were taken to hospitals from the Coliseum on Saturday night — five during the game and five more after the game. She had no immediate details on the injuries or when they occurred, but said the injured were in fair condition.

Thousands of fans flooded onto the field after the Trojans upset the Cardinal on a last-minute field goal.

Crowd Management Issues in Russia

Riot Police, Water Cannons and Smoke Grenades Used to Control Soccer Crowd in Russia
November 01, 2013
by Jason Judy

Riot Police, Water Cannons and Smoke Grenades Used to Control Soccer Crowd in Russia
November 01, 2013
by Jason Judy
crowd, riot, Russia, safety, soccer
0 Comment

Russia Soccer Riot

78 fans were detained at a Russian soccer match between Spartak Moscow and Shinnik Yaroslavl, where Spartak fans hurled flares, fireworks, chairs and themselves through barriers and into riot police. Camera footage captures the incident and, according to a Reuters report, local police are considering charges that could lead to jail terms of up to three years.

Fan injured by hot dog suing Kan. City Royals

By BILL DRAPER Associated Press, 11/1/13

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – If it had been a foul ball or broken bat that struck John Coomer in the eye as he watched a Kansas City Royals game, it’s unlikely the courts would have forced the team to pay for the surgeries and suffering he’s endured

But because it was a hot dog thrown by the team mascot – behind the back, no less – he just may have a case.

The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing whether the “baseball rule” – a legal standard that protects teams from being sued over fan injuries caused by events on the field, court or rink – should also apply to injuries caused by mascots or the other personnel that teams employ to engage fans. Because the case could set a legal precedent, it could change how teams in other cities and sports approach interacting with fans at their games.

Coomer, of Overland Park, Kan., says he was injured at a September 2009 Royals game when the team’s lion mascot, Sluggerrr, threw a 4-ounce, foil-wrapped wiener into the stands that struck his eye. He had to have two surgeries – one to repair a detached retina and the other to remove a cataract that developed and implant an artificial lens. Coomer’s vision is worse now than before he was hurt and he has paid roughly $4,800 in medical costs, said his attorney, Robert Tormohlen.

Coomer, 53, declined to discuss the case. His lawsuit seeks an award of “over $20,000″ from the team, but the actual amount he is seeking is likely much greater. Tormohlen declined to discuss the actual amount.

The Jackson County jurors who first heard the case two years ago sided with the Royals, saying Coomer was completely at fault for his injury because he wasn’t aware of what was going on around him. An appeals court overturned that decision in January, however, ruling that while being struck by a baseball is an inherent risk fans assume at games, being hit with a hot dog isn’t.

The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments last month, but didn’t indicate when it might issue its ruling.

Few cases had addressed the level of legal duty, or obligation, a mascot owes to fans, so Coomer’s case is being closely watched by teams throughout the country, said Tormohlen.

“If a jury finds that the activity at issue is an inherent and unavoidable risk, the Royals owe no duty to their spectators,” Tormohlen said. “No case has extended the no-duty rule to the activities of a mascot.”

The Royals, whose spokesman declined to comment on the case while it is pending, have argued that the hot dog toss has been a popular fan attraction at Kauffman Stadium since 2000 and is as much part of the game experience as strikeouts and home runs.

From mascot races and T-shirt cannons to free Wi-Fi and stadium sushi stands, teams have been doing everything they can to convince fans that the live experience is worth the high ticket and concession prices and is better than watching games on television.

“You have this competition with teams engaged in pushing the envelope trying to make the experience at the event better than what you can experience at home,” said Jordan Kobritz, a professor in the Sports Management Department at SUNY Cortland. “You also have the fan mentality in which risk today is more tolerable than it’s been in our history.”

A ruling in Coomer’s favor, or one that at least assigns partial blame to the mascot, could force teams to rethink their promotions, or at least take additional measures to keep spectators safe, Kobritz said.

Bob Jarvis, a sports law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida, said a 1997 California case set an important precedent when a state appeals court ruled that mascots are not an essential part of a baseball game. In that case, a minor league baseball team’s dinosaur brushed against a fan, distracting him right before he was struck by a ball that broke several bones in his face. The court said mascot antics aren’t essential or integral to the playing of a game.

Furthermore, not all courts have treated the baseball rule as sacrosanct. Earlier this year, the Idaho Supreme Court allowed a fan who lost an eye to a foul ball at a minor league baseball game to proceed with his lawsuit against the team. The court said that since baseball fan injuries are so rare in Idaho, there didn’t seem to be a compelling reason for the court to step in.

In the Kansas City case, a ruling in the Royals’ favor would indicate that mascots are, indeed, an essential part of the game experience, Jarvis said. If that happens, the Kansas City case would likely supplant Lowe’s as the one attorneys look at when deciding whether to file a lawsuit on behalf of an injured fan.

“If you could get a court to go the other way and say in-game entertainment is a natural part of playing baseball in the U.S. in the 21st century, that would be a tremendous precedent that could cut off future lawsuits,” Jarvis said.

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