49ers fan dies: Tragedy struck week one of the NFL season, as a San Francisco 49ers fan fell from an elevated walkway to his death Sunday at Candlestick Park, reports The Associated Press via Yahoo! News on Sept. 9. The death occurred shortly after the afternoon kickoff.
Witnesses said the man tumbled over a railing on the Jamestown walkway – an elevated pedestrian crossing that surrounds the stadium. The 30-year-old victim, whose name has not been released, was allegedly heavily intoxicated.
Stadium first aid officials responded and attempted to assist until San Francisco emergency crews arrived. The man was declared dead from his injuries at the scene.
The 49ers issued a statement shortly thereafter.
“We would like to express our deepest condolences to the family during this difficult time,” team spokesman Bob Lange said.
This was the second accident related incident that occurred during Sunday’s games. In Indianapolis, a railing that fans were leaning against collapsed, injuring two. The railing was above the tunnel leading to the opposing team’s locker room. The injuries were not thought to be serious.
Drinking and related accidents at major sporting events has been a cause for concern for decades.
According to a study done by the University of Minnesota and reported on in 2011 by The Big League, one out of 12 individuals were found to be intoxicated at NFL and MLB games. Even those who were clearly inebriated continued to be served.
“Alcohol laws and guidelines at stadiums are poorly enforced: Researchers said 74 percent of people pretending to be drunk were served… Thousands of fans leaving games and getting into their cars are drunk. Researchers took breathalyzer tests of 362 fans at 13 baseball and three NFL games and found 8 percent of them – 1 in 12 – were legally drunk, while 40 percent of them had at least something to drink. That 8 percent, when multiplied by the thousands of people attending games nationwide, leads to a staggering number,” says thebigleague.com
According to the 49ers web site, Candlestick Park’s Alcohol policy limits beer sales to two per purchase at all concession stands, and indicates that beer and alcohol will be discontinued at the end of the 3rd Quarter.
An Alcohol Management Team enforces these rules both within Candlestick and in the stadium-owned lots. According to the web site, the purpose of this team “is to insure that all attendees are familiar with the policies stated herein and to take the appropriate steps to address any violations of these policies.”