During a recent ECU home football game at Greenville’s Dowdy-Ficklen stadium several Pirate fans were injured when multiple rows of bleachers gave way. East Carolina University quickly released a public statement to show concern for all those that were harmed at their sports complex.
As reported by several media outlets, fully a dozen spectators were hurt from injuries suffered as a result from several rows of bleachers in the new east end zone section of the Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium collapsed in the first quarter of the ECU-Tulsa football game. According to school officials, all those injured were treated by stadium personnel for a variety of injuries, including scrapes, cuts,bruises and possible fractures.
After the mayhem, approximately a dozen rows of bleachers were taken from the stadium—still during the game. Fans who were not injured in that section were relocated to other locations within the stadium. University officials have promised to follow up with the injured in case they might need any additional medical care/treatment.
Of course, ECU officials will be meeting with contractors to investigate what went wrong to cause the accident that hurt more than a dozen people. It should be noted that construction on the new end zone section of the stadium was completed over the summer with the addition of about 7,000 seats. It is now the student section in the stadium. Obviously, such bleachers must be designed to exceed the normal weights anticipated out of general safe design.
The construction company, TA Loving Construction Company was involved in building the bleachers this past summer. Obviously, the school needs to figure out what went wrong. Ironically, instead of celebrating a season opening victory for the Pirates, administrators have the task of damage control and are focused on the public opinion of safety, rightfully so. The bleachers can be described as a galvanized, steel bracket variety. One thing is for sure, the injured victims of the Dowdy-Ficklin stadium collapse are fortunate and are lucky that they escaped catastrophic, major injury, such as paralysis from the fall, or even death. I’m not sure how I’d feel about climbing onto the bleachers again in that area if I had gone through an experience like this.