Basketball fans in Chapel Hill celebrated the University of North Carolina’s recent national championship in a common manner: setting fires. However, some fans got too close and their celebration ended with a visit to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center and personal injuries.
Dr. Bruce Cairns, a surgeon in the burn center at UNC Hospitals, says that excited fans could have a feeling of invincibility, like the flames of a bonfire are unable to touch them.
However, Cairns says, “There’s no such thing as a small bonfire, and there’s no such thing as a minor burn injury.
Cairns may be a Tar Heel fan, but his joy over the championship was tempered by an expectation of treating students for burn injuries after the fires went out.
UNC freshman Andrew Madlon found himself crowd surfing on Franklin Street on Saturday after UNC defeated Villanova in the semifinals. He says that he was “up there for five or 10 seconds” before the crowd dropped him and he landed on the fire.
Madlon’s right forearm landed on the hot coals. He did not believe the injury to be serious at first, but he suffered second-degree burns and dirt from the coals became lodged in his skin, causing an infection. He was required to undergo surgery and doctors applied a type of biological Band-Aid made from pig skin.
According to Cairns, Madlon’s reaction is a common one, believing a burn injury not to be as severe as it actually is.
Cairns said that eight fans were treated at the burn center in the wake of the Final Four celebration. He says that even more could be injured without initially realizing how severe the burns they suffered actually were.
Madlon was released on April 8, but he will require follow-up care for several weeks to ensure that he does not require a skin graft.