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13-year-old girl dies after being hit by puck
March 19, 2002 10:38 AM   Subscribe

13-year-old girl dies after being hit by puck at Blue Jackets' game: A 13-year-old girl died after being hit in the head by a puck that was shot over the glass and caromed off another fan at an NHL game. Brittanie Cecil died Monday night, two days after she was hurt at the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Calgary Flames, Children's Hospital said. It was believed to be the first death of a fan hit by a puck at an NHL game.
posted by dagny (40 comments total)

 
The direct link to the story on NHL.com doesn't seem to work anymore. Here's another source
posted by dagny at 10:46 AM on March 19, 2002


I couldn't get that link to work. Here's another link (Yahoo AP).
posted by arco at 10:48 AM on March 19, 2002


God what a sad thing to happen. My condolences go out to the girls family. Although, short of sealing the rink off from the stands completely, I don't know what could be done to prevent this from happening again. I imagine similar incidents have occured in baseball, although I haven't read about it.
posted by jonmc at 10:52 AM on March 19, 2002


I imagine similar incidents have occured in baseball
cal ripkin once belted a puck into the upper left field bleachers, killing a hot dog vendor.
posted by quonsar at 10:56 AM on March 19, 2002


I can't imagine how Espen Knutsen feels (Player who shot the puck).

I'm suprised this is the first death ever, since during a course of a game you see at least a couple pucks go flying. That's a lot of games and a lot of pucks and a lot of people, it was bound to happen.
posted by Mark at 11:00 AM on March 19, 2002


Did the pitcher get in trouble for throwing Cal a puck and not a ball? :]
posted by Mark at 11:03 AM on March 19, 2002


hit in the head by a puck that was shot over the glass and caromed off another fan

oh man.. whats this "another fan" made up of ? How fast would the puck have been travelling to be so deadly even after it had already hit one fan.
posted by adnanbwp at 11:07 AM on March 19, 2002


No, you got that backwards, he killed a puck vender after belting a hot dog into the upper left field bleachers.

And yes, too bad about the girl.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:08 AM on March 19, 2002


Mark: it's the first death ever at an NHL game. There have been quite a few spectator injuries and deaths at lower-league games (mostly because the glass isn't as high at minor-league rinks). Poor kid. I wonder if there's likely to be any legal action (there is a case pending from another spectator death at a minor league game), even though there are warnings printed on the backs of the tickets and they almost always give you a verbal warning before the game starts as well.

(they use pucks in baseball? why isn't it called basepuck?)
posted by biscotti at 11:20 AM on March 19, 2002


Say, where is the puck? Can I have the puck?
That puck is eBay gold.
posted by dong_resin at 11:20 AM on March 19, 2002


Um, believe it or not, I wasn't trying to start a string of one-liner's here, I honestly figured such a thing had happened. I'm all for humor, but a little kid is dead here.
posted by jonmc at 11:28 AM on March 19, 2002


It is sad to see something like this, but I'm just surprised it hadn't happened already. It was just a matter of time. So many pucks, so many fans, so many chances.

I'd be surprised if the NHL doesn't enforce some sort of netting behind the nets, extending from the glass to 10' or 15' above, held in place by guidewires. It might ruin the view from the second deck behind the nets, but that extra protection should stop 99% of the shots deflected towards the seats behind the nets.

dong_resin: I wonder if the family still has the puck, or if some sumbitch beside them grabbed it off the floor before they could get it. If so, they could force the new owner to turn it over to become Exhibit A in the (probable) civil suit.
posted by grum@work at 11:29 AM on March 19, 2002


By chance, I had just come across this article about a sports medicine guy who's doing research & activism for preventing sports injuries, often by redesigning the equipment involved. (Page 3 of the article mentions fatalities due to impacts from balls or pucks.) I hadn't thought about the implications for spectators of sporting events.
posted by tdismukes at 11:36 AM on March 19, 2002


"I wonder if there's likely to be any legal action"

In a word; yes. You can put all the disclaimers on the backs of tickets you want, that doesn't mean you won't get sued when someone dies.
posted by Outlawyr at 11:41 AM on March 19, 2002


One of the weird things about pucks is that being hit by a shot puck lots of times results in cuts instead of blunt traumas, since pucks are frozen vulcanized rubber, spinning, and usually strike glancing blows(due to their being round). And I have had the stitches to prove it.
posted by dglynn at 11:47 AM on March 19, 2002


it's sad that a girl died. but i dunno about nets/more protection... as a kid, half the fun of going to a game is trying to get a stray puck that flies into the stands. it's part of the whole hockey experience, just as catching a foul/homerun is in baseball.
posted by afx114 at 11:54 AM on March 19, 2002


if some sumbitch beside them grabbed it off the floor

My brother, about 8 or 9 at the time, got hit rather hard by a foul ball at a major league game. The spin was so great it went off him and two rows down. There some drunk guys proudly displayed their new prize, as if to mock the people in the section yelling "Give the kid the ball."
posted by geoff. at 12:01 PM on March 19, 2002


No, you got that backwards, he killed a puck vender after belting a hot dog into the upper left field bleachers.

Believe it or not, that's not as unlikely as it sounds. I was at a game at Camden Yards, Ripken's home stadium, a few years ago, and one of the between-inning promotions involved vendors firing hotdogs into the stands from a sort of hotdog "bazooka". Some of them reached the upper-deck.
posted by jpoulos at 12:03 PM on March 19, 2002


That is tough. Feel very bad for the kid and her family. I take my son to minor league games all the time in Philly and have had a puck come close to us (he was on my left, puck came to my right), but it was fluttering in a rainbow motion. I don't think that a direct hit would have hurt anyone on that play, but you never can tell. Getting hit by anything, even slowly, in just the right place can be very dangerous for kids.
posted by adampsyche at 12:03 PM on March 19, 2002


Yes, there will likely be a civil suit, since as was already pointed out it's unlikely someone won't be sued when there's a death. There may not be any recovery, though. The classic example of "assumption of the risk" that was always used in law school tort classes was the spectator at a baseball game who assumes the risk of being hit by a foul ball. The analogy is the same here, although it doesn't make the death any less of a tragedy.
posted by yhbc at 12:05 PM on March 19, 2002


Can someone with a specialty in head injuries explain why this blow didn't knock her out (according to the Yahoo article she was seen standing with a jacket held to her head afterwards) and why it took two days to become fatal? Was it just a long-term hemorrhage?
posted by padjet1 at 12:15 PM on March 19, 2002


I'm all for humor, but a little kid is dead here.

Yeah, it's sad that a kid died, but do we need a thread every time someone dies in a somewhat bizarre manner? It's like sportsfilter and newsfilter all wrapped up together. What is there to say, really?
posted by anapestic at 12:29 PM on March 19, 2002


"do we need a thread every time someone dies in a somewhat bizarre manner?"

I think we should post every time some dies, period. Like a big universal obituary. It would be really fun.

Obitfilter; all the death that's fit to print.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:43 PM on March 19, 2002


it's kinda like when a car ends up in the stands at a nascar race or like in that when animals attack when a circus elephant went wild. i hope out of respect for the girl tho it doesn't make it to video.

i saw a heckler once at a hockey game get nailed in the neck by a puck. it didn't shut him up tho, which was cool cuz he was a pretty good heckler.
posted by kliuless at 12:47 PM on March 19, 2002


I think one of the reasons it was posted is due to the fact that it was the first NHL spectator death. Death is not rare, but death in this fashion certainly is, which makes for interesting conversation.
posted by insomnyuk at 12:55 PM on March 19, 2002


Although, short of sealing the rink off from the stands completely, I don't know what could be done to prevent this from happening again

Can we put big, audience controlled sticks on them and move thim only up and down the ice, while forcing them to spin erratically too? Kind of like this? I always thought Pavel Bure deserved a big stick up his ass.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:03 PM on March 19, 2002


Outlawyr,
Did you mean:
Obitfilter; all the death that's fit to blog?
posted by DragonBoy at 1:11 PM on March 19, 2002


Ufez: Best. Game. Ever.
posted by grum@work at 1:13 PM on March 19, 2002


Two words: Helmet Day.
posted by skallas at 1:13 PM on March 19, 2002


one of the between-inning promotions involved vendors firing hotdogs into the stands from a sort of hotdog "bazooka".

That's exactly how Maude Flanders died. Except from a T-shirt bazooka, not a hot dog bazooka. But she was returning from getting hot dogs.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:48 PM on March 19, 2002


two Simpsons references in two posts? Aye Caramba!
posted by DragonBoy at 3:02 PM on March 19, 2002


insomnyuk is right about my reason for posting this story, but (unfortunately) wrong about what it would result in
posted by dagny at 3:03 PM on March 19, 2002


it's kinda like when a car ends up in the stands at a nascar race

As far as I know, cars have never ended up in the stands in NASCAR. Wheels separated from cars have killed in the IRL, NASCAR, and Formula One, but those days may be over due to heightened safety measures. Most auto racing formulas these days require dual-tethers on each wheel, or have very high catch fencing.
posted by machaus at 3:06 PM on March 19, 2002


I got hit in the chest with a puck at North Stars game back in the late 80's. I still have the puck on my desk.
posted by emoeby at 3:19 PM on March 19, 2002


Maybe the puck is the wrong color. (Summary: 1920, batter killed by allegedly scuffy, hard-to-see baseball; henceforth major-league teams always use fresh white balls, up to 700,000 a year.) Black makes a great contrast with an ice surface on top of a white floor, but would red or day-glo work as well? Netting's probably more effective, though.
posted by dhartung at 5:22 PM on March 19, 2002


Local news here in Pittsburgh did intense coverage of this story tonight. Seems the girl died of an uncontrolled brain bleed -- I guess they weren't able to go in and make a repair. She would've turned 14 tomorrow.

As far as I know, cars have never ended up in the stands in NASCAR.

According to the same coverage, a whole car has never ended up in the stands, but a fan was seriously injured in 2000 when a blown-out tire flew into the stands and hit him in the head and chest.
posted by Dreama at 9:33 PM on March 19, 2002


It's sad to read that the girl was hit by the puck after bouncing off someone else. What bad luck! It's not like the girl wasn't paying attention.

I remember in the early eighties sitting in Nassau Coloseum in the third row off the ice when the glass at that time was fairly low. A woman near me was more pre-occupied Knitting in her seat than watching the game. A guard approached her and advised her not to continue and watch the game for her safety.
posted by ooogiebooogie at 9:54 PM on March 19, 2002


In a single positive note in this story, the girl's family donated her organs, in hopes that the aftermath of this tragedy would bring health to other kids.
posted by Dreama at 12:57 AM on March 20, 2002


cars have never ended up in the stands in NASCAR.

hmmm. maybe not NASCAR then. grand prix? i saw it on one of those scariest car crashes shows. or it could've been a drag boat.
posted by kliuless at 6:23 AM on March 20, 2002




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