Fan violence in sports is becoming a bigger problem all the time. It's sad but true.
At a recent game in San Jose between the host Sharks and the visiting Canucks, 16-year-old Maggie Herger, who four years ago had surgery to remove a brain tumor, was left concussed by another fan at the game. Herger says that she was hit in the head by a drunken Sharks fan who had been bothering her and her sister during the game after a San Jose goal.
The girls said they did just that, keeping to themselves as they rooted for the Canucks and took smiling pictures that appeared destined for a happy digital photo album. But one intoxicated woman wearing a Sharks jersey, who appeared to be in her 40s, kept bumping into the teens and yelling curses at them, the two sisters said.
Then, as the fans jumped up to celebrate a second period Sharks goal, the sisters said, the woman behind them brought down both her hands and smacked Maggie in the back of her head "really hard," forcing Maggie to fall forward and leaving her dazed.
Her sister then rushed to an usher. Maya said she heard the woman tell the usher "she's a Canucks fan," but that she "didn't mean to" hurt her.
"I was just really surprised," Maggie said. "I didn't think people acted like that."
She later found out from doctors that she had suffered a slight concussion, leaving her head "spinning" a day later and her neck and head still hurting. She was bedridden, nauseous and on pain medication.
Here is a video courtesy of NBC Bay Area with more details.
The good news for Herger is that the tumor that is still in her brain was not impacted with the blow to the head, so no internal bleeding was suffered. That's about the only good news you can take from a situation like this.
Making matters worse was another fan taunting Herger as she was loaded into an ambulance. "He looked in and said, 'You're faking it, you don't need an ambulance, suck it up,'" Herger said.
The Sharks issued a statement regarding the manner on Thursday.
"Arena staff, along with San Jose police, interviewed the person who made contact with the injured fan, who stated that the contact was accidental during the celebration of a Sharks goal. Upon being interviewed, others seated in the area of the incident did not report seeing the contact between the parties involved."
After the tragedy that happened at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium where San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow was nearly beaten to death, two fans being shot at a Raiders-49ers game in San Francisco and the stabbing after a Raiders-Chargers game in San Diego, this resonates a little louder. It just seems so pointless and idiotic that people would care that much about a fan of another team being next to them.
Of course it should be mentioned that this in no way represents Sharks fans as a whole or people of California. I think 99.9 percent of all Sharks fan would condemn the actions of the accused attcker as well as the mocking fan by the ambulance.
Another of the sad parts in it all is that Herger said she would love to go back to a game at the HP Pavilion but that she would be terrified to do so. Imagine, being afraid to go sit in a seat for a couple of hours to enjoy a hockey game?
There's just no place for this at sporting events -- or anywhere really -- especially when unprovoked other than wearing certain colors.
H/t to Pro Hockey Talk for the video