Kimberly Briard broke her hip and femur Friday night during the chaotic flight out of the home bleachers.
The 55-year-old mother of three said she and her husband were watching their daughter Karly cheer at the Palm Beach Central-Dwyer High preseason football game when she noticed a look of terror cross her daughter’s face. Then she heard screams and saw a flood of people rushing toward her in the north end of the stands, away from the gunfire.
Briard and her husband quickly joined the stampeding crowd. But her right leg — already compromised by a bad back — gave out, and she fell. Briard was trampled. She said her husband hovered over her until he could get her up and out of the chaos.
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All Briard could think of, though, was Karly.
“I told him you got to go back in to find Karly,” Briard said Saturday from her bed at Wellington Regional Medical Center. So he did.
She remembers a few moments of calm and deciding to hobble back into the stands. She’d lost her phone and wanted to be with her daughter, she said.
Then she heard “get down, get down.” Terror, again, overtook the crowd. Sheriff’s authorities told everyone to evacuate. Briard ran into a few friends who helped her out of the stands. The pain was catching up to her, she said.
An ambulance took her to Wellington Regional where she is being treated for the “excruciating” pain. She said she’s scheduled for a full hip replacement Monday.
She said Saturday morning that she’s “hanging in there.” She remembered joshing with the paramedics Friday night, who were her husband’s former students at Palm Beach State College.
“Mr. Briard always said you never know when you’ll be working on someone you know,” Briard remembered one of them saying. She responded: “Well you’re working on his wife so do a good job.”
Her husband retired about two years ago after a long career with Delray Beach Fire Rescue.
The active mother — who’s also the mentor coordinator for the county’s Take Stock in Children nonprofit — will need months to recover.
She said she plans to catch up on reading — she has a pile she’s been waiting to get to — and to continue to support her daughter from the stands of home football games.
Admittedly, the incident instilled a new fear in her, she said, as well as in Karly.
“But it won’t stop us from going to more football games,” Briard said. “It won’t stop us from living our life.”
A GoFundMe page was created to help support Briard as she recovers.