It’s been hot outside recently — perhaps you’ve noticed. Saturday was particularly hot. Missouri football’s season opener against Murray State was moved from the afternoon to the evening due to the excessive heat. While a heat index of 107 degrees was measured in the stands, the artificial turf of Faurot Field clocked in at 150 — yes, one hundred and fifty — degrees at midday.
In those conditions, the heat at a sporting event goes from a nuisance to a serious concern. Not only are the players at risk, spectators can and will suffer from heat exhaustion, heat stroke and worse. It is nothing to take lightly, and so we were glad to see the athletic department and Memorial Stadium staff take extra caution to ensure the safety of everyone attending the game.
In the past, attendees have been prohibited from even bringing water into the stadium. The decision was made this weekend to allow one sealed water bottle per person to be brought in; this undoubtedly saved many fans from dehydration. In addition, mist machines and free cups of ice were provided and additional water stations were set up to alleviate the long lines that often form at the stadium’s few water fountains.
These measures helped keep fans safe and happy, and reflected thoughtfulness and consideration on the part of staff. Although the MU Police Department responded to 46 medical emergencies at the stadium, the majority of them being heat-related, the number would have surely been higher had the additional services been provided.
It was a pleasant surprise for many of us to experience a well-coordinated operation at the stadium, which is under construction. We had feared it would be messy, confusing and perhaps even hazardous, but the concourse was organized well and the staff appeared knowledgeable and helpful. Hopefully, with the renovations and additions to the stadium, any inconvenience from the construction this year will have been worth it.
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