Man who fell to his death at CFL football game was alcoholic, says wife

A man who died after tumbling through a railing at a Canadian Football League game in Winnipeg three years ago was an alcoholic who consumed about five drinks every day, his wife told an inquest Tuesday.

WINNIPEG — A man who died after tumbling through a railing at a Canadian Football League game in Winnipeg three years ago was an alcoholic who consumed about five drinks every day, his wife told an inquest Tuesday.

Andrew Szabo, 52, liked to drink beer and rye, and had had a few drinks before he fell several metres in August 2006, Barbara Szabo testified.

“He was an alcoholic,” she said. “He knew he drank … too much,”

But Szabo’s problems with alcohol never interfered with his work or other aspects of his life, she added.

Szabo’s blood-alcohol level was more than double the legal driving limit when he tumbled down a set of stairs in the stadium’s north end and fell through a railing to the concrete below.

The inquest will look at how to prevent such deaths in the future. It will examine the physical layout of the stadium as well as the care Szabo received at two hospitals before he died the following day.

Szabo had one drink at home beforehand, had one or two at the stadium before the game, and met his wife in the stands holding two beers, the inquiry heard.

Soon afterward, Szabo stood up gesturing toward a friend to meet him at the bottom of the stairs. When he stood up, his foot caught on the bench in front of him and he started tumbling down the stairs and out through the railing, his wife said.

“I went to the railing and looked down and he was lying on the ground,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes.

Szabo was taken to the Grace hospital. A doctor said he had not broken any bones, his wife testified.

Hours later, he took a turn for the worse and was rushed to the Health Sciences Centre, where his wife said doctors painted a very different picture.

“(The doctor) told me that he had lost a lot of blood, that he had a cracked neck … and a broken pelvic bone.”

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