Spectator reports fall at Colonial Life Arena WNBA game. Dawn Staley responds

A fan was hospitalized this weekend after falling over a railing at Colonial Life Arena during the Las Vegas Aces WNBA preseason game Saturday versus the Puerto Rican National Team, according to social media posts made by her and her father on X (formerly Twitter).

Jonathan Cotten wrote in a post to X that his daughter Kayla fell 10 feet from her seat onto concrete and offered suggestions for how he said arena staff could’ve handled the situation differently. Kayla, who uses a wheelchair, wrote in a separate X post that she was moved to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) seating in the rafters from the seats she paid for “cuz no place wants to be accessible.”

The State has reached out to multiple contacts at the University of South Carolina seeking comment on the reported incident. It wasn’t immediately known where in the arena Kayla’s original seats were located and whether or not they were purchased in the ADA-specific seating areas.

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley replied to Cotten’s post on X Monday morning:

“Good am @JonEasystep! We r deeply sorry to the highest level this happened to sweet Kay,” Staley wrote. “U r completely rt & we must do better. Our #1 priority is that every1 feels safe when they come to @CLAmktg. U hv given us in gr8 detail what should have taken place. I’ll take it 2 top,” with a prayer hand emoji.

Cotten wrote in his original post that he called and spoke to an unnamed supervisor at the arena, who said they’d speak to an attendant about moving Kayla and the rest of her party down “since there were plenty of seats.” However, according to Cotten, there was no arena attendant in Kayla’s area.

Saturday’s official attendance count was 13,507.

A photo posted to X by Cotten showed the reported ADA seating area located in the rafters of Colonial Life Arena and just above the highest seats of the upper bowl seating areas.

At one point during the game, Cotten wrote, Kayla got up got up from her wheelchair, lost her balance and then fell over a railing. He added that doctors at Prisma Health Richland Hospital had no idea how Kayla survived the fall with no major injuries.

Kayla posted on X at 10:57 p.m. Saturday explaining that: “by God’s grace, no internal bleeding, broken bones, or permanent damage. After spending over an hour in the trauma bay having seizures, they declared me stable. Still grieving having my @HollywoodRaven jersey cut into pieces tho,” with a crying emoji and two broken heart emojis.

Cotten wrote that USC’s Raven Johnson messaged Kayla to replace the jersey the hospital had to cut off her.

Cotten also offered four suggestions in his X post for how Colonial Life Arena could have handled Kayla’s situation better or prevented it from happening in the first place:

“1) When customers have disabilities, listen to their concerns, especially when they call and email you.

“2) Have attendants in the ADA section. You never know, the customer might need something.

“3) Retrofit the railings so people can’t risk injury or death when they lose their balance. MLB has nets for foul balls for the same reason.

“4) If an injury does occur, focus on getting medical treatment. Don’t subject their friends and loved ones to a debrief session to try to assess your liability.”

Kayla also offered a suggestion in a social media post:

“I hope to come back next fall but @CLAmktg please treat those with disabilities with consideration & make sure they can get to the seats they bought,” Kayla wrote on X. She also asked them to consider raising the railing height.

Staley responded to Kayla’s original post Monday morning:

“Huge s/o to @kiajohn24 (Shekia Johnson, Raven’s mom) for calling me this morning to let me this happened to you Kayla,” Staley wrote in an X post. “We are deeply sorry. Heartbroken knowing you suffered at one of the places you enjoy the most . God has you covered and so do we in prayer for your complete recovery,” with two prayer hand emojis and two heart emojis.

Cotten thanked Staley for her response.

“Thank you so much @dawnstaley! Leaders reveal their character in quiet ways and with care for people who have no significant influence. God bless you!”