Shortly after kickoff at the 2012 ACC Championship at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium, a 22-year-old fan fell 40 feet to the ground below. The Charlotte Observer reports that this was the first reported fall since the 1996 opening of the facility. The police report from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department states, "While walking up the ramp, the victim jumped up on the safety wall and accidently fell over the side of the wall due to his momentum." The incident has sparked concern from local media, government and stadium officials. Some are even suggesting changes need to be made to increase fan safety.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the fan was, according to his mother, trying to climb onto a railing to take a picture of the surrounding Charlotte skyline. Many of the reports circulating throughout the stadium shortly after the event happened speculated on the sobriety of the fan, the distance from which he fell and other influential factors. There is still little more certainty regarding the incident's cause and its aftermath several days after its occurrence.
This accident has sparked debate among local leaders about how to ensure fan safety and avoid another similar fall. Charlotte CBS affiliate WBTV reports that Mayor Pro-Tem Patrick Cannon and Councilman Michael Barnes differ in opinion regarding how to address the situation. Cannon sees this as an opportunity for stadium officials to review their current safety measures and fans to be more aware of their surroundings. Barnes' mindset is that since this is the first accidental fall in the stadium's history, there is no need to spend city funds on additional security.
There is still no word on the road ahead for the victim in the fall, and this is, naturally, the primary concern in this story. It should be noted, however, that city and stadium leaders may voluntarily -- or involuntarily -- enter into an agreement to invest in stadium upgrades. One would hope that these upgrades do not damage the stadium's view of the Charlotte skyline. Despite the accident, this is one of the primary selling features of the facility, and any steps that can be taken to preserve this view while keeping patrons safe should be considered.