STILLWATER, Okla. – Thousands of fans stormed the field and tore down goalposts after Oklahoma State's 44-10 victory over archrival Oklahoma, leaving at least 13 people injured, including two who were airlifted to hospitals, medical and university officials said Sunday.
Michael Authement, who heads the command post at emergency medical provider LifeNet EMS, told The Associated Press that a throng so big took to the field as the game ended that some fans were trampled and one person fell at least 15 feet onto concrete during a wild celebration by Oklahoma State fans.
No. 3 Oklahoma State routed the No. 13 Sooners on Saturday night to win the Big 12 championship and make its case to play for the BCS national title. The Cowboys (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) snapped an eight-game losing streak in the rivalry and won their first outright conference title since 1948 in the three-team Missouri Valley.
"They won the game and stormed the field and ripped down the goalposts, and some were jumping off the stands and hit the field and others got trampled. It was a nasty deal," Authement said.
He said the crowd was so big it took police at least 45 minutes to clear fans from the field at the university's Boone Pickens Stadium, which has a capacity of more than 60,000 people, according to the school's website.
"There were thousands of people. Thousands of people stormed the field. You couldn't move there were so many people," he added.
AP photographs and video showed fans climbing atop the yellow goalposts and tearing them apart amid a crush of people on the field. Scores of hands stretched out to pull down the goalposts during the celebration.
Students were seen jumping from the roughly 9-foot-tall retaining wall that surrounds the stadium and separates the seats from the field.
Authement said nine ambulances, including six from LifeNet, rushed 11 of the injured away and the two with critical injuries were flown to Oklahoma City hospitals. He said he knew of leg fractures but didn't have any details on the extent of the injuries, though two of the 13 had minor injuries and were treated at the scene and released.
A spokeswoman for Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City wouldn't release details Sunday morning about patients being treated there.
Oklahoma State spokesman Gary Shutt confirmed that two people were airlifted to Oklahoma City, while eight were treated at Stillwater Medical Center — including two who were having surgery Sunday on broken ankles. Three others were treated at the field, he said.
Shutt said the university's policy is that fans are not allowed onto the field, and that he heard fans booing when the public address announcer said on the loudspeaker that fans should not rush the field.
Shutt said the university does not use the form of collapsible goal posts that get laid flat on the ground after the game but they do use a form that is more easily dismantled. He did not know if any of the injuries were related to the goal posts being brought down.
Lesser injuries included broken ankles, ankle sprains and back sprains, said Shyla Eggers, public relations director for Stillwater Medical Center. She told AP that her hospital received six of the injured in ambulances and two in private vehicles, and at least two of them have been admitted and would undergo surgery on broken ankles.
"Our staff that was on hand took care of it. They were just very busy," Eggers said. "Game day is always busy."
She had no immediate details on the more serious injuries.
Oklahoma State University police referred questions to the university. Stillwater police said they had a handful of officers at the game, and Oklahoma highway patrol had no immediate comment.
Authement said fans began storming the field with about 20 seconds left in the game. He said he had reports of people falling and being trampled in the surge.
"This was way worse than the earthquake," Authement said, referring to the magnitude-5.6 quake that hit central Oklahoma and the same stadium as fans were leaving a game Nov. 5. It was the strongest earthquake in the state's history.
During Saturday's game, the marching bands from both universities performed Amazing Grace to honor Oklahoma State head women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and his assistant coach, Miranda Serna, who were killed in a plane crash last month during a recruiting trip. The pilot, Olin Branstetter, and his wife, Paula, who were also killed, also were honored.
Associated Press writers Bill Cormier in Atlanta and Jeff Latzke in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.