Fans describe man's fall down M&T Bank Stadium steps

Dan Clark, 48, of Ferndale, in 'critical condition' at Shock Trauma

November 26, 2013|By Colin Campbell, The Baltimore Sun

William Bowling watched from two seats away as Dan Clark got out of his seat and walked into the aisle of M&T Bank Stadium's Section 521 during the Ravens game Sunday. Bowling said he was close enough to reach out and grab him — and he would have, if he had known what was going to happen next.

Clark, 48, took a step, dropped the phone in his hand and fell down the flight of steps in the stadium's upper deck during the Ravens game against the New York Jets, turning and hitting the back of his head on the platform at the bottom of the section, Bowling said.

Clark was listed in critical condition at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center on Tuesday morning, officials for the hospital said.

Clark, a warehouse manager living in Ferndale, underwent at brain surgery at Shock Trauma Sunday night, according to his brother, Jim Clark. He was able to speak Monday but is having difficulty with his memory and likely will require more surgery in two weeks and lengthy rehabilitation, Jim Clark said.

He was at the hospital in serious condition as of Monday evening but was listed in critical condition on Tuesday morning, Shock Trauma spokeswoman Karen Lancaster said.

Jim Clark, who attended the game with his brother, acknowledged the two had been drinking, but he said his brother seemed fine when they walked into the stadium.

"I was very, very much in control," he said, declining to comment further.

Jim Clark said he was in the bathroom when his brother fell. Bowling said Dan Clark waited a moment, then decided he needed to go, too. The next moment, he was lying on his back at the bottom of the steps.

"I saw him literally fall," Bowling said.

As Clark lay bleeding, Wyatt Cox, 25, of Columbia snapped into action.

Cox, who said he works with patients recovering from traumatic brain injury, jumped up and started checking Clark's vital signs.

He wasn't breathing at first, so Cox said he performed CPR. Then he focused on stemming the bleeding from Clark's head.

"It was very apparent he had a pretty gnarly wound in the back of his head," Cox said. "In hindsight, I wish I had taken off my T-shirt and put on pressure."

As he tended to Clark, Cox yelled for help. Cox said he was ejected from the stadium for demanding more urgency in rendering aid to Clark.

Cox, Bowling and Jim Clark said that it took stadium staff a long time — their estimates ranged from 10 to 45 minutes — to get Dan Clark to the hospital.

"It took forever to get him out of there," Jim Clark said. "I'm very upset about it. ... I can't believe it took him that long to get medical attention."

He said he's planning to send the team an official complaint.

A Ravens official said stadium staff was on the scene in three minutes, and any delay in moving him was because of concerns about moving someone with a head or neck injury. Jim Clark said Ravens President Dick Cass had called to relay the team's concern and said that he would look into what happened and report back.

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