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Heat takes toll on football fans

September 30, 2008|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

The weekend football game between UCLA and Fresno State at the Rose Bowl was by no means the hottest on record.

But Pasadena fire officials said Monday that nearly 1,000 people sought medical attention for heat-related medical issues -- the most in recent memory.

Nearly 74,000 people attended Saturday's game between the Bruins and the Bulldogs, and forecasters said the weather was no hotter than usual for a mid-September football contest. Temperatures hovered around the low to mid-90s most of the afternoon.

The influx started within 20 minutes of the 12:37 p.m. kickoff and lasted about two hours, said Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian.

More than a third of those in attendance -- some 371 people -- requested sunscreen or aspirin, Derderian said. The rest were treated for more serious heat-related illnesses, including 16 who required hospitalization.

Although Pasadena fire officials were able to handle the patients, they said the number of people seeking medical attention was unexpected.

"We had a lot of out-of-town fans who might not have been acclimated or prepared for the Southern California weather conditions," Derderian said.

Steven Trembley, a spokesman for the Fresno State Athletic Department said Monday he was aware that fans were treated for heat-related issues but said he had not heard that Fresno State fans were disproportionately affected by the heat, which they must deal with on a regular basis for home games in the San Joaquin Valley.

The combination of pregame activities, including drinking at tailgate parties, coupled with a flood of fans trying to get into the stadium before kickoff may have contributed to the high volume of medical calls, Derderian said.

Most of the patients -- many complaining of dizziness, nausea and dehydration -- came from the north end of the end zone and did not fit a pattern of age or gender.

The National Weather Service reported a high temperature of 91 in Pasadena with 36% humidity.

--

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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