Tragedy muted Tennessee's celebration after a season-opening victory over North Carolina State.
Isaac Grubb, a 20-year-old man from Tennessee, died in an Atlanta hospital late Friday night after plunging 35 feet from the upper level of the Georgia Dome earlier in the evening while celebrating a Vols touchdown. Investigators say Grubb had been drinking for several hours prior to kickoff but witness reports do not indicate he bought alcohol while inside the stadium.
Grubb landed on another fan in the mezzanine when he fell. The second fan, whose identity has not been released by authorities, was treated at the hospital Friday night and released.
A witness seated in the same section as Grubb told the Atlanta Constitution the fall happened after one of Tennessee's three first-quarter scoring drives.
"Tennessee had scored a touchdown — I believe it was the second," Williams Coates, a Tennessee fan from Arkansas, told the paper. "There were three people who weren't with [our group]. … It looked like [the man who fell] was doing a fist pump, and then he was gone over the top."
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Grubb's death is the second fatal fall at a sporting event this week. A 25-year-old Houston man died as a result of a 60-foot fall from a fifth-floor escalator at Reliant Stadium in Houston during a Texans preseason game on Thursday night.
Last year, a firefighter attending a Texas Rangers game in Arlington fell to his death from the left field stands while reaching for a baseball thrown in his direction by outfielder Josh Hamilton. As a precaution, the Rangers responded by raising the railings throughout the park before this season.
It remains to be seen whether the Georgia Dome will take similar precautions, but it wouldn't be a surprise if stadium officials consider it. Anything to prevent this awful trend from continuing would be money well spent.
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