Teen breaks sternum at rowdy rock concert

A teenage girl broke her sternum at a rock concert this past weekend when rock ‘n’ roll turned rough ‘n’ tumble.

Tracy White brought her daughter Brianna, 17, and son Brendan, 14, to the third annual “The Big Growl” concert hosted by local radio station, 103.9 “The Bear.” It took place Sunday, June 22 at the St. Joseph County 4-H Fairgrounds and was advertised as an event for all ages.

“I thought it was going to be a really good day and a lot of fun to enjoy the rock concert with my kids,” said White.

The day took a turn for the worse when a fight erupted a few rows behind where here kids were standing. Lead singer of the band Tantric told the crowd to settle down and asked anyone starting trouble to leave.

When the band Saliva took the stage, things roughed up even more in the standing room section.

“She [Brianna] remembers being shoved into the fence up close to the stage,” explained White, “there were fights breaking out around her and she said people were throwing punches, elbowing and kicking.”

At that point, White was standing farther back in the stands while her daughter and son were getting pushed around near the stage. Brianna ducked for cover as a woman tried to help her, but Brianna said a man grabbed her away and pushed her back into the crowd.

Brianna’s brother was able to get her out of the mosh pit and take her to EMS. He was punched in the back of the head and kicked as they tried to leave.

“Panic set it,” said White as she watched her 17-year-old complain of pain and difficulty breathing.

The family left the concert and eventually took Brianna to the emergency room for x-rays. A doctor told them Brianna’s sternum was fractured.

“I just do not want this to be swept under the rug,” said White.

White contacted the general manager of 103.9, Clint Marsh, asking for more security. In an e-mail to Marsh, White wrote: “…there was no police presence! When I finally reached my injured children it took about 15 minutes to find a police officer to get us help…I would strongly suggest that in the future, you either make it an alcohol free “family” event or you make it a 21 and over event.”

Marsh, who was out of town Monday, reached out to White on Tuesday to assure her that he will talk to police and security about what measures need to be taken in the future to keep things under control.

NewsCenter 16 reached out to Marsh for a comment on the incident and he said security and safety is always a priority and it was “unfortunate” that a few rowdy fans can create an issue for a crowd that was “overwhelmingly good.”

Marsh personally received two complaints from concert-goers concerned about concert safety. Overall, Marsh said he was pleased with the “fabulous work” of security staff to keep the concert as smooth as possible.

Some 25 security personnel were hired to work the event, including local police officers and civilian security guard. According to Lt. Matthew Blank of the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, the security stands in between the crowd and the stage to prevent crowd surfers and concert goers from disrupting the show. Security also responds to any fights or incidents erupting in the crowds and stands.

“Obviously our concern is for everyone that was there, especially the younger ones,” said Blank. A number of younger children were standing alongside parents in the crowd.

Blank said there were a couple “minor” issues that occurred on Sunday.

19 people were cited for things like underage drinking, smoking and littering. Only one person was arrested and booked at the St. Joseph County Jail.
“The event went very well considering we had 7,000 people, there were very few incidents,” Blank added.

A broken sternum was the most severe injury reported that day, but White believes it should never have occurred.

“It’s advertised as all ages, a family event to bring your kids. Well, I brought my kids and my daughter ended up with a fractured sternum,” White said.

Management from 103.9 will meet with security and emergency officers in the near future to discuss what can be done in the future. There is no indication as of yet that the concert will not be marketed to families in future years.

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