Snapdragon Stadium

SDSU Students Ask Why Aztecs Game at Snapdragon Wasn't Delayed Till Saturday Night

SDSU's athletic director said there were about 200 medical requests from the stadium during the game, with 10-20 of those patients later hospitalized

NBC Universal, Inc.

Students from San Diego State said Monday that the new Snapdragon Stadium felt more like a microwave than a football stadium.

"Like you’re a turkey on Thanksgiving," said San Diego State student Nathan Vandermerwe. "Just getting put in the oven.”

Like most students NBC 7 talked to on Monday, Vandermerwe left early — very early.

“Everyone was gone by the end of the first quarter," Vandermerwe said. "And there was no shade in the stadium. Yeah, it was pretty gnarly.”

Another student, Zoe O'Hanlan, said she didn't even make it past the front gate before turning back.

“We were drenched in sweat," O'Hanlan said. "Our clothes were sticking to us. It was just really sweaty. You could barely open your eyes because the sun was beaming down on you.”

O'Hanlan said that, as she waited to get into the stadium Saturday morning, an ambulance cut through the line of fans to get to another student who passed out from the heat before kick-off. Already out of water, she decided to go back to the trolley station.

NBC 7 crews captured at least a half-dozen fans rolled out of the stadium on stretchers and into ambulances.

"Generally over 95 degrees is a very extreme heat event," said Kaiser Permanente pediatrician Dr. Vi Thuy Nguyen, who drove past the stadium before the game.

"I was really worried about them," said Nguyen, recalling the crowds walking across the asphalt without water bottles in hand or hats to protect themselves from the direct sun exposure.

Nguyen acknowledges heat exhaustion and heat stroke are concerns, especially among the especially young and the elderly, but notes that at the temperatures experienced Saturday in San Diego, even young adults are at risk.

"When you're young, you feel invincible, but this is not a normal event," Nguyen said.

Ideally, the best way to stay safe in the heat is to avoid outdoor activities unless they are in the early morning or late in the day. Another tip she gives her patients is to pre-hydrate. Nguyen recommends drinking a liter of water before heading outside for a prolonged period of time in the heat. Once you're outside, she said, snacks with a little salt and glucose help transport water to your system faster.

"Water is actually transported in the gut," Nguyen said. "This is the only time I recommend Lay's potato chips. If you eat a little bit of that, you actually absorb the liquid more and you'll hydrate yourself better."

A spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire Department said the agency is still finalizing a report on the exact number of medical calls during Saturday's game. However, on Tuesday afternoon, SDSU athletic director JD Wicker told reporters there were about 200 medical requests from the stadium during the game. The majority of those calls were heat-related. Wicker said about 10-20 of those patients were hospitalized.

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