Health

More than 100 Rams fans treated as team struggles to keep up with water demand

A general view of the home opening NFL game as the Los Angeles Rams play the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Coliseum on Sept. 18, 2016.
A general view of the home opening NFL game as the Los Angeles Rams play the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Coliseum on Sept. 18, 2016.
Harry How/Getty Images

Roughly 160 people received medical attention at the Rams versus Seahawks game on Sunday, the first NFL game in Los Angeles in 22 years. Most of those people were treated for heat-related illnesses.

Rams fans cheered on their team — under some heavy heat. The Rams had extra medical personnel at Sunday's game because they knew it would be a hot one, team spokesperson Joanna Hunter told KPCC.

"We staffed up appropriately there to ensure that we were able to be responsive to any incidents that might arise," Hunter said.

Hunter said that the team works with partners including police, the Fire Department and medical personnel to determine the appropriate staffing levels.

One key problem on Sunday: An inability to make sure the concession stands were stocked with water throughout the game, even though there was water in the building. Concession stands were being stocked throughout the game, but they couldn't be restocked fast enough to meet demand, Hunter said.

The team plans to increase the number of free cups of ice available to fans if there are hot temperatures, Hunter said, as well as improving operations to make sure those concession stands are stocked with water.

Hunter offered these recommendations to avoid dehydration:

There are also water fountains available for people to use, Hunter said.

The team looks at operations after each game, including the experiences of both the team and the fans, as well as all the other partners who come in and out of the Coliseum on game day, Hunter said. They gather feedback from everyone and look at ways to improve for the next game.

"We heard from fans, we observed issues, we take them seriously, and we are working with our partners to make adjustments moving forward," Hunter said.

The Fire Department was also prepared in advance and had units on scene, LAFD Capt. Daniel Curry told KPCC.

"It was 90 degrees, 40 to 50 percent humidity. Inside the football stadium, there's no shade, so you're actually looking at temperatures on the field closer to 110 degrees," he said. 

Curry couldn't say what specifically caused these heat-related illnesses, but stressed the importance of staying hydrated.

“[If] you’re going to an outdoor event, you have a responsibility to hydrate, to be aware of the conditions that you’re going to be out in. People are responsible, to some degree, to preparing themselves for these things," he said.

The L.A. Fire Department said they responded to 48 incidents at the Coliseum and transported 11 of those people to the hospital. In addition, a private ambulance service responded to 110 people complaining of issues with the heat, Curry said.

The Rams' next home game is on Oct. 9 against Buffalo.