Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Ravens’ victory brought tens of thousands of people to M&T Bank Stadium for a celebration. But in the rush to get a peek at the players, an 11-year-old boy was trampled.
Monique Griego has more on the changes Ravens officials now plan to make for future celebrations.
The problem started when the stadium reached full capacity. Thousands of fans were left outside and many started to rush in.
As the Ravens arrived at M&T Bank Stadium for their Super Bowl celebration, a massive crowd of fans followed. But with the stadium already filled to capacity, thousands were turned away. And soon many were making desperate and dangerous attempts to get in.
Tyrek Hodge, 11, became trapped when the crowd suddenly rushed the gates. He told WJZ’s partners at the Baltimore Sun what happened next.
“I fell and they started piling up on me, I couldn’t breathe. And I said ‘Mommy help me,’” Hodge explained. “I thought I was going to die.”
But Tyrek’s mother also couldn’t move.
“All I could do is hold his hand at the time, being crushed over by piles of people,” Tiffany Hodge said.
Tyrek–unconscious for a short time–was eventually dragged to safety. The 11-year-old suffered a concussion, broken blood vessels in his eye and several large scrapes.
This week, Ravens leaders talked about the overcrowding problems. While they’d expected around 30,000 people, more than 200,000 showed up.
“We did not anticipate the size of that crowd. I don’t think police anticipated the size of that crowd,” said Dick Cass, President of the Ravens.
To avoid chaos like we saw on Tuesday, Ravens officials say for now on they’ll only have ticketed events so people know whether or not they’ll be allowed to get in.
“I think that was the major potential safety issue and next time we do this we’ll know better,” Cass said.
Tiffany Hodge still believes more should have been done.
“I understand you can’t control a big crowd, I understand that, but there should have been more security than regular people who work at M&T Bank,” she said.
Tyrek is expected to be OK. He’s currently at home recovering from his injuries.
Ravens leaders said they thought Baltimore City Police did an extraordinary job handling the crowd.