Polar Bear results in hospitalizations, citations

By Sarah Gardner

During Polar Bear, a drinking event on Saturday, 26 people were hospitalized and 139 citations were made by local and state police officers.

The severity of injuries during the weekend was the worst in three years, an E.R. nurse manager at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale said Monday, according to Rossalind Rice, communications coordinator for Southern Illinois Healthcare. The average age of patients treated was 19, and the common denominator in all cases was extremely high blood alcohol content.

University spokeswoman Rae Goldsmith said the chancellor’s office did not send an email to parents about the upcoming drinking event–as it has in previous years–and instead sent the email directly to students. The email offered alternative options for students such as extended Recreation Center hours and offered tips for staying safe during the weekend.