Jalen Hurts survived Washington Football Team on Sunday, but the Eagles quarterback nearly fell victim to Washington’s stadium afterward, with a crowd of Eagles fans falling right next to him after a FedExField railing collapsed near the tunnel to the visiting locker room. A day later, the NFL has begun looking into Washington and the postgame incident, according to ESPN’s Tim McManus, while several of the Eagles fans who fell are disputing the notion that stadium staffers offered them medical assistance.
Washington initially released the following statement Sunday night, after Hurts helped some of the fans — all of whom appeared unhurt at the time — to their feet before exiting the field: “To our knowledge, everyone involved was offered onsite medical evaluation and left the stadium of their own accord. We’re very glad no one appears to have been seriously injured. The safety of our fans and guests is of the utmost importance and we are looking into what occurred.”
Four of the fans who fell through the collapsed railing, however, told McManus they suffered injuries. One of them, 26-year-old New Mike Naimoli of New Jersey, even spent the night in a nearby emergency room, where he was fitted with a neck brace and diagnosed with a cervical strain and head injury. All four, meanwhile, said stadium officials did not offer onsite medical help.
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“They didn’t ask if anyone was hurt,” another fan, 26-year-old Andrew Collins, told McManus, “and they sure as hell didn’t ask if anybody needed medical attention. The only thing the staff said to us was to get the ‘F’ off the field.”
A Washington spokesperson said the area where the fans gathered after the game “was for disabled people designed for wheelchair access,” per McManus, “and that the railing is not load-bearing and is therefore not designed to withstand hundreds of pounds leaning into it.” But several of the fans who fell have indicated “they were granted access to the area by a member of stadium security, and that there was no signage indicating it was a restricted area.”
As NBC Sports Washington’s Pete Hailey noted after the incident, FedExField officials used zip ties to secure the collapsed railing after the stadium had been cleared out. Earlier this season, during Washington’s Week 1 loss to the Chargers, FedExField endured a separate malfunction, per ESPN, with a rainwater-collection pipe breaking and soaking a small section of fans.