Saturday’s University of Hawaii football game was a big win for the university, but it’s also raising safety and health concerns after several ambulance crews had to be called to Aloha Stadium.
We received video and pictures of passed-out tailgaters who either needed medical attention or had to be helped by others in the parking lot — not your typical tailgating festivities, according to die-hard fans who told us about it.
While most of the tailgaters were enjoying the party before the game, there were some who had enough well before kickoff. Ambulances were called in to provide medical help. Others who were knocked out needed friends to get them to a safer place.
“That’s what caught our eye. We saw one girl being carried out and I’m like, ‘Where are you going?’ They didn’t have a car,” said Ronalda, who didn’t want us to use her last name. “We ended up helping her. She was dehydrated. She was intoxicated heavily and didn’t know where she was.”
Ronalda says it was mainly happening in an area where UH students hang out. A club known as the Manoa Maniacs rallies fans there regularly. She adds that she’s never seen it this bad, and even some of the students admitted to her that they were underage.
She and others contacted us because they want something done.
Fans say they don’t want drastic measures taken and tailgating is still an important part of going to the game, but they do want something done before tragedy strikes.
“They get carried away and it’s all about fun until something bad happens, and we’re so afraid of that. That’s what our concerns are,” said Ronalda.
We asked UH and the stadium about last weekend’s tailgating parties, including one held by a UH student club and learned officials will be meeting to discuss the issue.
“We contacted the Manoa Maniacs. We contacted Aloha Stadium, and we’re definitely going to meet with all the parties involved,” said UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl. “This is a major concern to the university and we’re definitely trying to address it.”
Meisenzahl adds that the Manoa Maniacs do not serve or condone alcohol use during these events, but their tent is open to anyone, including non-students, to tailgate.
We also checked with the Honolulu Police Department which said its officers and state sheriffs patrol the parking lot. We’re told officers do check IDs if anyone is suspected of underage drinking. A spokeswoman for the state sheriffs referred us to the Stadium Authority to answer our questions about security measures.
Officials there are supposed to meet with UH next week. We’ll let you know if any changes are made for future tailgating events.