Oakman players hurt when wall collapses prior to playoff game

By JEFFERY WINBORNE, Eagle Sports Correspondent
Posted 11/10/18

BRUNDIDGE — Five Oakman football players were hospitalized Friday night when a privacy wall fell in the visitor’s locker room at Pike County High School. The Wildcats and Bulldogs were set to …

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Oakman players hurt when wall collapses prior to playoff game

Posted

BRUNDIDGE — Five Oakman football players were hospitalized Friday night when a privacy wall fell in the visitor’s locker room at Pike County High School. The Wildcats and Bulldogs were set to meet in Brundidge, AL in the first round of the AHSAA Class 3A Playoff.

The game has been moved to 2 p.m. Monday at Pike County.

“A concrete retaining wall fell,” said Oakman head coach Mark Hastings as he described the scene in the locker room. “We had several guys sitting on a bench under it, at least four guys trapped under it for a minute. Players very quickly got the wall off of them. Had one that had a cut in his head, he was probably the least injured. Four others were basically bent over, trapped under it for a little bit. 

“They got the wall off of them and eventually — they just let the wall fall the opposite way because we couldn’t hold it any longer. 9-1-1 and the paramedics got here in a pretty quick amount of time.”

The 6 x 15 foot long brick wall, an original part of the high school gym which dates back to the 1970s according to Pike County Schools Superintendent Mark Bazzell, was a free-standing modesty wall to allow students to dress and undress in private.

“We don’t know why it fell,” Bazzell said. “It’s not a suspended wall, it would have taken some force to push the wall in order for it to fall. The age of that wall, if one of their kids leaned against it that could have been enough force to pitch it over. It’s a straight block wall, not a woven block wall which is fairly typical for buildings this old.”

Oakman opted to not release the name of the players injured in the incident for privacy reasons, but they were all initially transported to Troy Regional Medical Center with one later being transferred to Children’s of Alabama and another to UAB.

“Two are seriously injured, not sure about another,” Hastings said. “But two should be okay.”

The Alabama State Fire Marshall had been contacted shortly after the incident, according to Bazzell.

“First and foremost, our concern is for the players,” he said. “We hate that it’s kind of messed up a great night of football, but our concern is for them. We have reported this to the Alabama State Fire Marshall and they have instructed us to lock up the room and they will be here next week to conduct an investigation.”

The game initially was going to be delayed until 8:30 p.m., with Coach Hastings citing limited options despite the circumstances. 

“The game has to be played,” Hastings said. “It’s going to be delayed, but it will be played. We don’t have an option to do anything else, we could delay it until (Saturday) but that’s not going to help our situation. We lost several starters.”

Several minutes later the AHSAA gave the go-ahead to postpone the contest until Monday, releasing a short statement on their official Twitter account.

“We at the AHSAA are praying for the those injured tonight,” the tweet read.

With schools closed Monday in observance of Veteran’s Day, Oakman will travel for a second time to Pike County for a 2 p.m. kickoff.