Medics Keep Browns Fans In Game

CLEVELAND (AP) - Eleven people were treated for injuries at Sunday's Browns game -- and that was just in the stands.

At a typical game at Cleveland Browns Stadium, about 25 of the 73,000 fans require medical attention for everything from cuts and broken bones to heart attacks and strokes.

"It's amazing. If you can think of what happens in an emergency department, it'll happen in the stadium," said Dr. Frank Peacock, medical director of a Cleveland Clinic team of nearly 30 that provides care to crowds at all stadium and Gund Arena events.

As the Browns lost Sunday to the Tennessee Titans, the Cleveland Clinic Event Care team treated 11 fans, including a burn, two allergic reactions, two pregnant women with problems, a possible broken rib and a cut eyebrow. Ambulances took five of them to the hospital.

Other times, fans have suffered dislocated shoulders by exchanging boozy, overly exuberant high-fives.

Once a fan broke her arm at home before kickoff but decided not to go to the doctor because she couldn't bear to miss the game. At halftime, when the only thing she could no longer bear was the pain, she went to one of the seven medical clinics that the Event Care team staffs throughout the stadium.

"They splinted her up and sent her back to the game," Peacock said.

The Cleveland Clinic is in the third year of a five-year contract to provide free care to the fans at the stadium.

Two years ago, Cleveland Clinic Event Care grew to include all events at Gund Arena, from Cleveland Cavaliers games to rock concerts.

All told, the medical team covers nearly 200 sports and special events a year attracting close to 3 million spectators. So far this year, the team has treated more than 550 people.

Because quick response is crucial, eight teams of two paramedics each -- all off-duty firefighters -- cover assigned sectors of the stadium. As many as 10 nurses and two doctors are stationed in the stadium's seven medical clinics.

One of the more trying events they have worked was the Three Tenors concert in June 2000 on a sunny, 90-plus-degree day. The crowd was older, and many men were wearing heat-absorbing black tuxedos.

As the tenors sang, one patron after another collapsed.

"It was like in 'The Godfather,' when they were playing that opera music while they did the hits," paramedic John Dudas said. "They were playing that music, and people kept dropping."

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)