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Dallas Cowboys Facility Collapses Injuring 12

Posted by Chrissie Cole
Monday, May 04, 2009 1:35 PM EST
Category: In The Workplace
Tags: Major Medical, Spinal Cord Injury, Paralysis, Construction Accident, Workplace Injury, OSHA


IMAGE SOURCE: Congressman Elijah E. Cummings

The Dallas Cowboys practice facility collapsed during a storm on Saturday, permanently paralyzing a team scout and two other team staffers, the National Football League said.

Twelve people were hurt or injured.

The team released a statement late Sunday stating scouting assistant Rich Behm, 33, sustained a fracture that “caused a severing of the spinal cord… causing permanent paralysis from the waist down.” He underwent surgery Saturday night and remains in stable condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital.

The Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, 43, will undergo surgery at Parkland Hospital today to stabilize a broken vertebra. He was not paralyzed. Greg Gaither, assistant athletic trainer, is expected to remain at Baylor University Medical Center for the new few days with a broken right leg.

The remaining nine people injured received medical treatment and were released Sunday.

Jerry Jones, team owner, surveyed the debris on Sunday Morning. He praised Irving police and emergency services for their actions the previous day.

“We are so grateful to all the Cowboys players and staff members that heroically sprung into action in the face of personal danger to help those in need of immediate assistance,” he said in a statement.

“A microburst impacted the Valley Ranch area where the Cowboys practice,” according to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. A microburst is a “small, intense downdraft which results in a localized area of strong thunderstorm winds,” the weather service said.

Winds near the grounds were estimated near 70 mph. Winds are generally more intense farther from the ground and microbursts can have winds in excess of 100 mph. Therefore, it is possible that winds greater than 70 mph affected the upper portions of the damaged structures," the service said.

OSHA Investigating

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is investigating the collapse to determine if there were any violations, or to determine the cause,” said Elizabeth Todd, spokeswoman for Region 6 of OSHA.

The agency will be interviewing witnesses and looking for identifiable hazards. The procedure is routine and implies no wrongdoing, Todd said. OSHA has up to six months to finish its investigation. #

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