Columbus Crew Match Postponed After Fan Reportedly Struck by Lightning

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 29, 2014

Jun 28, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Emergency weather conditions delay the game between the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas at Crew Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Updates from Sunday, June 29

The MLS released a statement Sunday from executive vice president Dan Courtemanche regarding the postponement of last night's match:

Due to the inclement weather in Ohio and the unfortunate incident that occurred in the parking lot outside Columbus Crew Stadium last night, Major League Soccer made the decision to postpone the game between FC Dallas and the Columbus Crew. The game has been rescheduled to 2 pm ET today.

The health and safety of our fans is always our top priority, and we believe it was the right decision to postpone the match. The decision to reschedule the game to Sunday afternoon was made by the League. When matches are postponed, MLS' standard policy is to reschedule the game to the next day if possible. This policy is similar to other professional sports leagues. We apologize for any inconvenience to the fans.

Original Text

Saturday night's match between the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas had to be canceled under scary conditions, as a fan was struck by lightning before the match.

Adam Jardy of The Columbus Dispatch had some of the details:

A fan was struck by lightning in the parking lot outside of Crew Stadium before tonight's game against FC Dallas, multiple eyewitnesses told The DispatchThe Dispatch has learned that the man is still alive after being transported to a hospital. 

The Crew game has been canceled "for reasons beyond our control," according to an announcement given to fans at Crew Stadium. No make-up date has been announced. 

According to The Dispatch, a "massive lightning bolt" struck Crew Stadium about 15 minutes before the game was set to start. The Crew announced on their website, "Tonight's Crew contest is being postponed due to extenuating circumstances. Tickets will be honored for the re-scheduled match."

If you've ever wondered why teams take thunderstorms and lightning so seriously during outdoor sporting events, what happened Saturday in Columbus illustrates the true danger they can pose. The Dispatch reported the man was brought to the hospital is critical condition.

Just yesterday, Kevin Ambrose of The Washington Post wrote about the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's lightning safety workshop at the University of Maryland, where the topic of lightning strikes was a major point of discussion, namely the dangers of a "a super bolt" hitting a stadium and the catastrophic effects it could produce if that stadium wasn't properly evacuated.

And we've seen major sporting events delayed a significant amount of time due to lightning in the past. Baseball games are regularly delayed or postponed, but this September the NFL's opening game between the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos was delayed over 30 minutes due to lightning.

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Generally, organizations do a wonderful job of handling these types of situations. What is so scary in this case was that the fan was reportedly struck in the parking lot and that the bolt hit the stadium and reverberated around the near vicinity.

It's a rare occurrence that something like this happens, but certainly a cautionary tale as well.

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