Many Chiefs fans who suffered frostbite at bitter cold playoff game need amputations

Warning: The video in this story contains some graphic images

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The medical director at the Grossman Burn Center at Research Medical Center says 70% of patients referred for frostbite injuries suffered during the bitter cold in January are now being advised to schedule amputations.

Majority of them are Chiefs fans who attended the team’s frigid playoff game.

Burn survivors gathered at Research Medical Center for a second annual reunion Tuesday evening. Jack Daly came to the Grossman Burn Center in July when he recalls the heat index was 110.

“I had a lighter that I light the grill with and I also had an aerosol can of spray paint due to the heat with the grill the lighter exploded and then it ignited the spray can,” Daly said describing the situation that led to second degree burns now mostly healed over 17% of his body.

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But the burn center is now dealing with injuries from far different weather conditions.

“People think of burns, they think of fire, they think of hot thermal injuries. But burns can happen from many different causes,” said Dr. Megan Garcia, Grossman Burn Center Medical Director.

Garcia told FOX4 in January she’d already seen dozens of frostbite patients. Many of those were Chiefs fans who attended the playoff game against the Miami Dolphins where it was -4 degrees with a wind chill of -27 degrees at kickoff.

It was the fourth-coldest game in NFL history and coldest in Chiefs franchise history.

HCA Midwest Health shared images of the hand of one fan who took his gloves off for just five minutes in order to put up a tent in the parking lot outside Arrowhead Stadium.

“The patients who had their frostbite injuries along with the Chiefs game, they are just getting to the point now we are starting to discuss their amputations that might be necessary,” Garcia said.

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The estimated 30% lucky enough to avoid amputation after undergoing treatment the past few weeks in hyperbaric oxygen tanks will have plenty of reminders of their frostbite injuries.

“It’s still a lifelong process. They’ll have sensitivity and pain for the rest of their lives and always will be more susceptible to frostbite in the future. So we are also educating them to make sure they stay warm for the years and months to come,” Garcia said.

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