Lack of water at Faurot Field creates sea of problems

At least one spectator was taken to the hospital because of dehydration.

Freshman Marti Nari felt sick Saturday at Faurot Field during Missouri's 17-6 victory over Miami (Ohio). She was burning up one second and chilled the next. Her hands, cramped, grew inflexible. She separated herself from the crowd of Tiger fans in the bleachers and began to climb the stairs seeking relief, but couldn’t.

Two steps up, she blacked out.

“I walked up two steps and was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m not going to make it,’” she said. “I sat back down and tried to call my friends’ names. Then I started walking up the stairs, and I threw up.”

Nari’s friends brought her to the hospital where she received treatment for dehydration.

“I was definitely really scared,” she said. “I felt so sick, that’s scary. That, and when I woke up I felt like the worst, ever. It was horrifying because you don’t know what’s going on and you just feel so sick.”

Saturday’s game took place in 95-degree conditions. Concession stands in Memorial Stadium ran out of water bottles by the time Nari began feeling sick at the start of the third quarter. The line for the nearest water fountain, Nari said, was a 30 to 45-minute wait.

According to Faurot Field’s rules and guidelines, outside beverages are typically not allowed in the stadium except for medical purposes.

“I guess you should just always come prepared,” she said. “With water and stuff, buy in bulk the things you’re going to need. I don’t know if they can install more water fountains, but I feel like people could have just gone to the bathrooms to fill up their bottles in the faucet.”

Game attendant Joe Alonzo said he saw fans suffering in the heat during and after the game.

“I was OK, but out in the concourse, security were dealing with people who were doing badly by holding ice on their necks,” he said in an email. “While we were driving around after the game, we saw several people who appeared to have heat exhaustion.”

Alonzo said after the water bottles ran out he saw concession stands selling cups of ice for $4 each. He said that price was too high to expect fans to pay in extreme weather conditions.

“I think that’s outrageous to begin with, but when that’s the closest thing to water that’s available and it’s 100 degrees, some kind of adjustment needs to be made,” he said. “Maybe they could give away tap water if they run out of bottled water?”

Nari said she found the price of the bottled water, while it was still available, to be unreasonable.

“The water bottles were like really overpriced,” she said. “I would walk by, and I would hear people, and I’m the same way, saying, ‘I’m not going to spend that much money on water.’ That’s kind of a basic human necessity.”

Officials from the Athletics Department did not return multiple calls for comment.

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