OSHA Inspects Cowboys Collapsed Bubble - NBC New York

OSHA Inspects Cowboys Collapsed Bubble



    Federal inspectors sifted through the collapsed canopy debris of the Dallas Cowboys' indoor practice field Monday in Irving.

    A Cowboys scout was paralyzed, and 11 more people were injured when winds just shy of hurricane strength ripped through the roof of the team's indoor practice facility during a rookie minicamp Saturday.

    As the agents from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration began their inspection, officials with the city of Irving examined construction and inspection paperwork of the $4 million structure built in 2003.

    The company that built the facility said in a statement Monday that the roof covering had been replaced in 2008. Allentown, Pa.-based Summit Structures LLC also said proper engineering practices were used.

    Summit president Nathan Stobbe said in the statement that "our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families" and that he's in Irving on Monday working with team and local officials to "fully assess this severe weather event." The company's statement said few answers about precisely what happened Saturday are available so far.

    Meanwhile, the Cowboys' special teams coach was set to undergo surgery Monday to repair a fractured cervical vertebrae suffered in the collapse. Joe DeCamillis is one of three Cowboys staff members still in the hospital today.

    The others hospitalized include scouting assistant Rich Behm , who was paralyzed from the waist down after his spine was severed.

    In a statement, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team extends its love, comfort and support to Behm and his family.

    "Rich is a courageous member of our family and someone for whom we care deeply," Jones said. "We ask for all friends and fans of the Dallas Cowboys to join us in embracing him and his family with their thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time."

    Assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither had surgery to repair a fracture to the tibia and fibula in his right leg. He was expected to be released later this week.

    Most players at the minicamp were drafted the previous weekend or signed as undrafted rookies, but none was hurt. No veterans were involved. Support staff and media were also in the no-frills building, which is essentially a 100-yard football field with a few more yards of clearance all the way around. The roof was 80 feet high.

    Summit lists several other facilities that it built on its Web site, including one at Texas A&M and the New England Patriots' practice facility.

    A&M athletics director Bill Byrne said its facility was put in by a Houston-area contractor and hasn't had problems, but that the school would re-evaluate its bad-weather practice policies in light of the Dallas collapse.

    "Our facility was put to the test this past fall when Hurricane Ike hit the Texas gulf coast," he said in a statement. "Our buildings withstood the high winds and our football team was not in the facility at that time."

    A Pennsylvania court ruled in December 2006 that Summit was negligent in the design and construction of a membrane-covered building that collapsed in 2003 after a major snowstorm in Philadelphia. The building was constructed for the Philadelphia Regional Port Authority.

    The Cowboys are set to begin organized team activities on May 19.  That gives them 15 days to secure a new indoor facility for workouts.  In the past, Southlake Carroll High School has served as a secondary location for the Cowboys. There is no word yet whether the team has secured another indoor location or simply will practice outdoors at Valley Ranch.

    Randy McIlwain contributed to this report.