Sunday’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Commanders will mark Jalen Hurts’ return to the nation’s capital following the January incident in which many spectators were hurt when a railing at FedEx Field collapsed close to Hurts.
Hurts was ready to enter the tunnel leading to Philadelphia’s locker room on Jan. 2 following the Eagles’ 20-16 victory against Washington when the railing gave way. A group of about eight spectators can be seen plunging six feet to the ground in numerous videos. Hurts avoided contact by dodging the falling fans. While posing for photographs, he assisted one person in standing up and questioned numerous others about their well-being.
A few days later, Hurts received a phone call from Commanders president Jason Wright. According to insiders, the two spoke for almost an hour about the railing fall and what could be done to stop future occurrences of this kind.
Since then, the Commanders have strengthened that part of FedEx Field, a source told ESPN. The team has strengthened and repaired the fences in certain locations, as well as increased security throughout the stadium, with a focus on the areas surrounding the field that are closer to the players.
People are not allowed to enter restricted zones like the one where the railing fell in January in Washington. Due to the continuing legal dispute between the organization and the injured fans, the team is unable to comment on the matter.
Hurts wrote to the Commanders team and the NFL two days after what he called a “near-tragic incident,” inquiring as to what course of action will be done and emphasizing that “it might have been so much worse.”
In a statement released by the Commanders following the game on January 2, they claimed that “everyone engaged was offered on-site medical examination and left the stadium of their own own.” However, four people who fell as a result of the railing collapsing and who all claimed to have been hurt in the incident, most of whom were little, refuted the assertion that they were provided with on-site medical evaluation.
According to a team representative, the area where the spectators gathered was intended for individuals with disabilities and was wheelchair accessible. The railing was not load-bearing, thus it was not made to resist hundreds of pounds leaning into it. However, the group’s members claim that a stadium security guard gave them permission to enter the area and that no signs indicating it was a restricted area were present.