Skip to main content

Safety Can Spoil the Sports Experience, Especially for Wheelchair Users


Michael Wogan was a 22-year-old man who used a wheelchair due to muscular dystrophy. Michael was seated in the wheelchair section at an air show in Reno Nevada on Friday where a World War II era plane crashed killing 10 people, including Michael.

To my knowledge, this is the first wheelchair using spectator to be killed at a sporting event. Fans have died in auto racing accidents, at baseball and football games, and even been trampled during soccer matches. This event is the first time spectators have been killed at an airplane race, although pilots have died in the past.

It's ironic because I was at three sports events this summer and was frustrated by increased safety measures that interrupted my view of the event.

There have been two falls from upper decks of baseball stadiums this season. The fans were standing near the edge and fell over a railing to their death. Because of this many baseball stadiums have increased the height of railings. Unfortunately, the new railing height is right at eye level for me, and many other users in wheelchairs. I was a Citi Park in Flushing New York, Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, and Pocono International Raceway this year. At all three venues the railings have been raised in the handicapped seating area and substantially hindered my view of the event. At Pocono Raceway in particular the view is so bad I probably won't return, which is sad for me because I've been to more than a dozen events at this track.

I was frustrated because the fans that were injured or killed were typically acting irresponsibly, and often intoxicated. Because of their actions it's become harder for wheelchair users to enjoy sporting events, concerts etc.

Because of the airplane show tragedy, we will likely see some changes to the way they arrange seating. I appreciate safety, but at some point you have to realize that leaving your home were always inherently have some danger. I suspect they will start requiring catch fences to the way they do at auto racing events following a Michigan crash of an IndyCar.

As a wheelchair user I've already seen the toll that overzealous safety measures create. Yes, two people dying at baseball games is a tragedy, but considering that so far this season nearly 69 million fans have attended nearly 2300 games (and that's just the major leagues), I'm pretty amazed that there has only been two deaths.

Airplane racing has been around since the 1960s and this is the first time a spectator has been killed at an event.

As a sports lover, father, and wheelchair user I encourage the administration of these venues to not overreact to this tragedy. Tiny safety measures ultimately will create a sense of disconnect between fans and the events. The only way to be perfectly safe as a sports spectator is to stay home and watch it on television. Just try not to choke on a pretzel.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Marvels of the Science: Rocks and Things

My kids have a science test today. We've been studying rocks and minerals, erosion and weathering, and other science-y geology stuff all week.

All that work, and we just should have done in Internet search. After all, everything on the Internet is factual when it comes to science.

Here's a perfect example, a quick documentary that teaches us everything we know about rocks and 2 minutes and 43 seconds.

Stretch your brains!


The Least Scientific Nature Documentary Ever -- powered by Cracked.com

More Realistic Anniversary Gift Traditions

New Anniversary Gifts Destined to become Traditional My wife and I have been married for 20 years today. Over the past 20 years I made efforts each year to observe the traditional anniversary gifts. Some of them are certainly more difficult than others, and many of them are hard to find gift worthy in the modern age.
Therefore, I offer you a modern take on anniversary gifts. How many of these will become traditional?
First Anniversary – The Ramen Noodle anniversary. Let’s face it, you blew $30,000 on the wedding, and your student loan debt hasn’t gone anywhere. Share a Cup O’ Noodles. Eat with chopsticks on the floor because you can’t yet afford a couch.
Second Anniversary – The Puppy Anniversary. She’s been looking at you with those eyes that say she wants to start a family, but you just bought a new couch. Get her a puppy instead.
Third Anniversary – The Kinky Lingerie Anniversary. Leather, silk or lace can re-fire the engines after a year of flannel pajamas that smell like the puppy,…

Donald Trump Hates Freedom of the Press, But Why?

Donald J Trump is challenging the concept of free press. He has publicly ridiculed ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, MSNBC, and many other news organizations. Some have called out his twitter rants as being distinctly fascist.
This past week on Meet the Press, John McCain, a Republican member of the U.S. Senate, while not mentioning Donald Trump specifically, called suppression of the press "how dictators get started". Freedom of the Press in the Constitution
Freedom of the Press isn't a new concept. Our founding fathers put it into the original Bill of Rights. Even in the 1789 they realized that a free press was essential for maintaining checks and balances to the power of government.

The Press in Colonial America
Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison understood the power and value of the press. But what, exactly, was the press in pre-Constitution America? In colonial America around 1760 there were only 24 new…