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News Stories

Spectator Safety: Injuries to Sports Enthusiasts

Sporting events are supposed to be enjoyable and exciting. Spectators fill the stands of an arena and cheer on their favorite athletes and teams. Unfortunately, if safety is overlooked in any capacity, enthusiastic fans could be injured while observing the sport.

 In early 2013, a lap crash at Daytona International Speedway resulted in injuries to at least 28 fans, according to NASCAR officials. The accident ensued when a race car launched into the catch fence along the front stretch on a final lap of the Drive4COPD 300. Debris from the vehicle propelled into the grandstands, harming the spectators.

Following the accident, NASCAR officials transported the damaged vehicle to the sanctioning body’s research and development center for further investigation. Officials also initiated an investigation into the fencing in the days following the catastrophe.

SPECTATOR SAFETY

While spectators of any sport recognize the risks associated with athletic talents, fans may overlook the potential for injury as an observer of an event. Fortunately, many athletic arenas take precautions in an effort to help protect fans. For example, many professional baseball fields utilize safety nets to prevent injury from flying balls or broken bats. Furthermore, hockey arenas have barriers around the parameters of rinks to thwart pucks from spinning into the crowd. Moreover, the NHL mandates that rinks include netting behind each goal to reduce the chance that a puck will strike a fan; this is the most common area for the rubber disks to exit the rink. These are just some of the precautions taken by sports leagues.

The good news is that there are safety measures that managers of any rink, arena or stadium can take to help prevent injury to excited fans:

  • Make public announcements before and during events to help ensure that spectators are aware of dangers and pay attention at all times 

  • Position warning signs in visible areas

  • Include a warning on the back of a ticket stub

  • Set up safety netting or other barriers to prevent objects from flying into observing areas

Following these steps can help support spectator safety at sporting events.

If you have been injured during a sporting event, you may be limited in your ability to be compensated for your injuries. While there are inherent risks in observing sporting events, there is no limit on liability if the promoter or arena are negligent. To find out more about your specific incident, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.