Scout Paralyzed; Others Severely Hurt in Collapse

New special teams coach Joe DeCamillis is in stable condition and is expected to undergo surgery Monday morning at Parkland to stabilize a fractured cervical vertebrae.

Assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither had surgery Saturday night to repair a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg. He should be released from Baylor Medical Center later this week.

Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones was attending the Kentucky Derby in Louisville Saturday when the tension structure suddenly collapsed at 3:27 p.m. (CDT), some 30 minutes into the rookie practice at Valley Ranch.

Jones arrived back in Dallas Saturday night and arrived at Valley Ranch early Sunday morning to assess the damage. Jones, along with several members of the organization, including coaching staff and front-office personnel, spent the majority of Sunday at both hospitals. The Cowboys sent out a press release later that evening that included several statements from Jones.

"The Dallas Cowboys organization would like to express its deepest appreciation to the City of Irving's Fire, Police and medical emergency teams that collectively responded to the accident in the most timely and thorough manner yesterday," Jones said. "We are also grateful to those Cowboys players and staff members who acted so quickly and heroically in the face of personal danger to help those around them who were in need of immediate assistance."

High winds that reached nearly 65 miles per hour caused the structure to collapse, although local meteorologists are reporting that a microburst - an intense downdraft that results in strong wind divergence - could have been the demise of the practice facility, which was completed in 2004. The eight-story building, which did reach 80 feet in the air, came crashing down on top of an estimated 70 people, including 27 players, about 25 staff personnel and then about a dozen members of the media.

As of Sunday, 12 people were taken to the hospital - 10 by emergency vehicle and two went on their own. Assistant coach Brett Maxie was reportedly taken to the hospital where he received stitches for a cut on his leg.

During the practice, the rain and wind caused the building to tremble and the suspended light fixtures began swaying back and forth. After the lights started flickering on and off, it wasn't long before the entire structure came crashing down.

While all but a handful of the people inside the building were able to escape with mostly just cuts and bruises, the focus of the Cowboys organization obviously shifts to the three staff members who were severely injured.

Undoubtedly, the deepest concerns lie with Behm, a member of both the team's video and scouting department since joining the Cowboys in 2002. Currently, Behm works directly with the scouting department and director Tom Ciskowski.

"To the Behm family we extend our love, comfort, and the full support of every person and resource within the organization," Jones said. "Rich is a courageous member of our family and someone for whom we care deeply. We ask for all friends and fans of the Dallas Cowboys to join us in embracing him and his family with their thoughts and prayers at this very difficult time."

As for DeCamillis, who is expected to turn around the Cowboys' struggling special-teams units, he was just three practices into his new role when disaster struck.

"As we share concern for everyone who was touched by this accident, we also extend our heartfelt and best wishes to Coach Joe DeCamillis and his family as they prepare for Joe's surgery (Monday)," Jones added.

DeCamillis, the son-in-law to longtime NFL coach Dan Reeves, was immediately taken to Parkland Hospital after the incident and has been in stable condition since being admitted. His injury is specifically diagnosed as a cervical vertebrae (C 7/T-1) fracture.

Gaither, a full-time member of the Cowboys' training staff since 2001, has seen many cases of this injury from the opposite viewpoint. He is part of a four-man staff that includes Jim Maurer, Britt Brown and Wes Miller.

The rookie mini-camp was schedule to end on Sunday with a short morning practice that was obviously cancelled. The players did arrive back at Valley Ranch for a meeting on Sunday before they headed back to either their schools or hometowns. The rookies are not scheduled to return to Valley Ranch for another two weeks.

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