Hurts: Handrail collapse could have been ‘much worse’

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PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts has sent a letter to the Washington Football Team and the NFL asking what follow-up action would be taken after Sunday’s railing collapse at FedEx Field.

“I tried to handle the situation with a lot of balance and show compassion for the people who fell, but I know it could have been so much worse,” Hurts said Tuesday. “It kind of struck me not until after the fact that I had some time to reflect on it and think about it. I just wanted to see what could be done to make sure it does not happen again. That’s the only thing , I really care about. about. “

A railing on the side of the tunnel that led to the guests’ locker room at FedEx Field collapsed just as Hurts left after Philadelphia’s 20-16 victory. Several videos show a group of about eight fans falling about 6 feet to the ground.

Hurts surrounded the falling fans and was not hit. He helped someone up and asked several of them if they were okay while posing for pictures.

Washington issued a statement Sunday night, in which it read in part: “As far as we know, everyone involved was offered medical evaluation on the spot and left the stadium of their own free will.”

Four people who fell as a result of the railing collapse – all of whom say they suffered injuries from the incident, most of them minor – rejected the suggestion that they be offered a medical assessment on the spot.

“The only thing the staff told us was to get the F off the field,” said Andrew Collins, 26, of Brooklawn, New Jersey.

In his letter, Hurts asked, “what follow-up actions are being considered in response to the near-tragic incident that took place at FedEx Field on January 2, 2022.

“Through the initial shock, my first reaction was to help those involved. But even though I showed a calm calm, I understand the seriousness of what happened and am extremely concerned about the well-being of the fans and the media. As a result, I would like to know what security measures the NFL and Washington Football Team are implementing to prevent this from ever happening in the future. “

Mike Naimoli, a 26-year-old from Sicklerville, New Jersey, said he began to experience neck and arm pain, as well as a tingling sensation in his hand, which he said was trapped under the barricade shortly after the incident. He went to Inspira Medical Center in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, Sunday night to be checked out and was fitted with a neck brace while waiting in the emergency room, he said. When he was discharged after 5:30 a.m. Monday, he was diagnosed with a cervical strain and a head injury along with elbow and knee contusion, documents show.

Collins said he experienced low back pain and a pulled groin on Monday, while his girlfriend, 22-year-old Marissa Santarlasci, and Naimoli’s fiancé, 24-year-old Morgan French, said they received significant bruises.

According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Prince George’s County EMS staff were on the scene within five minutes and began treating those in need of medical attention, including a media member who had been transported by and another fan. The source said they were not aware that anyone else needed medical attention at the time.

A Washington team official said the area where the fans gathered was for the disabled and was designed for wheelchair access and that the railing is not load-bearing and therefore not designed to withstand hundreds of pounds leaning into it. However, members of the group claim that they were given access to the area by a member of the stadium security and that there were no signs indicating that it was a restricted area.

“I was at the front of the railing and I felt a pressure as soon as we went down there. Me and Andrew said, ‘This thing is going to collapse,'” Santarlasci said. “More and more people kept piling up … and as soon as Hurts came by, it obviously collapsed. I fell down. And when I got up, I tried to get my foot out of the railing because it was still was trapped, and the folks at FedEx, they just tore up the railing when my foot was still trapped in it.

“They did not even ask, ‘Are you okay? Do you need help?’ Nothing. They just went their day. Hurts was actually the one who asked, ‘Are you okay?’ It was crazy. “

On Monday, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN via email: “We are reviewing the matter with the club to understand what happened and to make sure it does not happen again.”

After barely escaping being hit by the collapse, Hurts picked up a fan from the ground who appeared to have hit his head, then posed for pictures before giving his playing gloves to another fan who was fell right in front of him.

“The resources of the NFL and team organizations ensure our safety by playing this physical sport,” Hurts wrote, “but what happened on Sunday put both fans and players at risk long after the last whistle. I look forward to hearing from you about this. substance. “

ESPN staff writer John Keim contributed to this report.

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