PHILADELPHIA – Four of the people who fell from a collapsed railing at FedEx Field on Sunday – all of whom say they suffered injuries from the incident, most of them minor – have refuted a statement by the team. Washington football suggesting they were offered an on-site medical evaluation.
“They didn’t ask if anyone was injured, and they sure didn’t ask if anyone needed medical attention,” said Andrew Collins, 26, of Brooklawn, New Jersey. “The only thing the staff told us was to get the F off the pitch.”
A railing on the side of the tunnel leading to the locker room at FedEx Field collapsed just as Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts stepped out after Philadelphia’s 20-16 win. Several videos show a group of about eight fans falling about six feet to the ground.
Hurts avoided the falling fans and was left untouched. He helped one person up and asked several of them if they were okay posing for photos.
Washington released a statement on Sunday evening, saying: “To our knowledge, everyone involved was offered an on-site medical assessment and left the stadium of their own accord. We are very happy that no one appears to have been seriously injured. The safety of our fans and guests is of the utmost importance and we are reviewing what has happened. “
Mike Naimoli, a 26-year-old man from Sicklerville, New Jersey, called the statement “completely incorrect”, saying no medical assistance was offered. Instead, he said they were told, “Everyone takes the F off the pitch”, and [they] Quickly pulled us away from Jalen and pushed us into the stands. “
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Prince George County EMS staff were on the scene within five minutes and began treating those in need of medical attention, including a member of the media who had been taken away and another. fan. The source said she was not aware of anyone else in need of medical attention at the time.
The team continues to investigate the situation.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email: “We are reviewing the matter with the club to understand what has happened and to make sure it does not happen again.”
Naimoli and his fiancee, Morgan French, 24, also from Sicklerville, attended the game with Collins and his girlfriend, Marissa Santarlasci, 22.
Naimoli, who is seen in the video in the Hurts’ green jersey, said he started to experience pain in his neck and arms, as well as a tingling sensation in his hand which he said had gone trapped under the barricade shortly after the incident. He went to Inspira Medical Center in Mullica Hill, New Jersey, on Sunday night for an examination, and was fitted with a neck brace while he waited in the emergency room, he said. When he was released after 5:30 a.m. Monday, he was diagnosed with cervical strain and a head injury as well as bruised elbow and knee, according to documents.
Collins said he was suffering from lower back pain and a strained groin on Monday, while Santarlasci and French said they suffered extensive bruising on his legs.
“I was the last person to fall,” said French, who has a bruise that runs from the top of one hip bone to the knee, to go with bruises on both shins. “I was on top of everyone so I quickly jumped up, and the security guard literally pulled me by both arms and pulled me off the pitch. I didn’t have time to treat. I was no longer in shock. “
A Washington team official said the area where fans congregate is disabled-friendly and designed for wheelchair access, and the railing is not load-bearing and therefore not designed for support hundreds of pounds. The group maintains, however, that a member of stadium security granted them access to the area and that there was no signage indicating that it was a restricted area.
“The guard downstairs, we [asked] him: “Can we go over there?” And he said ‘Yeah’ to me, “Naimoli said.” If the Washington football team wants to come out and say the area is restricted, there was no documentation on that. The only security guard who was right in front of that area took us in there and said, “OK, go into the tunnel. “”
It wasn’t the only incident at FedEx Field this season. In Washington’s season-opener loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, a hose connected to the rainwater storage broke and soaked a small portion of the fans.
“I was at the front of the railing and felt the pressure as soon as we got down there. Andrew and I were like, ‘This thing is going to fall apart,’” Santarlasci said. “More and more people kept piling up… and as soon as Hurts came by he obviously collapsed. I fell. And as I got up I was trying to get my foot out of the railing because ‘it was still stuck, and the folks at FedEx, they were just tearing up the railing because my foot was still stuck in it.
“They didn’t even ask, ‘Are you okay? Do you need help?’ Nothing. They just passed their day. Hurts was actually the one asking, “Are you okay?” It was crazy. “
John Keim of ESPN contributed to this report.