5 Ways to Improve Safety During College Football Season

a group of men at a parking lot tailgate wearing sports fan gear, there is also a tent and grill in the background and two men clinking plastic cups

Football Fan Injury Risks and How to Avoid Them

College football season is officially here, and fans are eager to return to stadiums to support their favorite teams. This time of year is perfect for bringing people together and sharing school pride, but it may also come with some risks. While most people have at least one story about the time they got hurt at a game, reducing potential hazards is a great way to ensure your family has a fun and safe time. Here are five potential injury-causing situations that you should know.

#1. Tailgating

Few things are more memorable about college football season than getting to tailgate with your friends; however, this can easily become a breeding ground for injury. Grilling, consuming alcohol, and throwing a football around may seem like casual activities but all contribute to some degree of danger.

When at a tailgate, it’s important to recognize the potential injury hazards—especially if small children are present—and have an emergency plan in place. As a start, keep a first aid kit and plenty of ice on hand at all times—you never know when you might need them. You should also keep any emergency contact information in your phone just in case.

#2. Stadium Slips and Falls

Although many Division I schools are renovating their stadiums to remove metal bleachers in favor of the plastic fold-down seats, these and many other slip and fall hazards are still prevalent in many areas around the country. Whether by inclement weather, spilling drinks, or other reasons, even standing in the stands may become hazardous (especially when intoxicated).

This hazard is largely a product of circumstance, but it’s still important to know how to navigate. Since “rally towels” are still a closely held tradition in many schools, you can use these to ensure your area is safe for standing. In inclement weather, dress appropriately and bring a poncho or umbrella.

#3. Heat-Related Illnesses

Whether you’re a student getting to the stadium the minute it opens or an alumni fan with season tickets, there are major risks of heat-related illnesses during college football season. Standing for long hours, likely consuming more alcoholic beverages than water, and limited opportunities for shade can all contribute to the possibility of heat exhaustion or worse.

To mitigate the possibility of experiencing heat-related illnesses that can lead to long-term complications, it’s important that on game days you remember to:

  • Drink plenty of water and electrolytes
  • Find ways to get in the shade (typically under the stands), either during timeouts or breaks in the action
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and plenty of sunscreen

#4. Fighting Fans

Whether we want to admit it or not, sports can bring out the best and worst in their fans. Especially when intoxicated or during bowl games, emotions can become heightened and lead to opposing teams’ fans fighting in the stands or parking lot. In fact, there is data to suggest that home football games contribute to a 9% increase in assault arrests. When broken down between wins and losses, assaults are much more likely to occur after a loss.

It’s important that fans keep their cool before, during, and after games—regardless of whether it’s a win or loss. Sports are meant to be enjoyed by all fans, so it is a much more sound idea to take a breath, get a drink of water, and carry on with your day rather than engage with unruly attendees.

#5. Drunk Driving

After a long, high-energy day in the sun, many fans either choose to go out on the town or head home for some much-needed rest. However, when the day is spent consuming alcoholic beverages, drunk driving incidents are likely to occur. According to one study that analyzed police data from 26 cities over six seasons, home football games see a 13% increase in drunk driving arrests—a rate that nearly doubles following a loss.

While all drivers should be diligent in not getting behind the wheel when intoxicated, other fans should be aware that this is a hazard. When traveling home after a football game, be cautious of how others are behaving on the roads.

Fresno Personal Injury Attorneys

Our team at Fowler | Helsel | Vogt wants to help all sports fans make it home safely. When you’ve been injured because of someone’s negligence, know that you can take action. Call (559) 900-1280 to schedule a free consultation today.

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