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Posted on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 7:56 a.m.

U-M student critically injured after fall from Cancer Center building

By Lee Higgins

A University of Michigan student remains in critical condition this afternoon after he climbed down from a roof this morning at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, dropped 10 to 15 feet onto a glass overhang, slipped and struck his head.


Authorities broke a window to reach a University of Michigan student injured in a fall at the Cancer Center early this morning.

Chris Asadian |

The 20-year-old student, who is from St. Clair Shores, clung to the second-floor roof and let his feet dangle as he dropped onto the overhang at 1:15 a.m., university police spokeswoman Diane Brown said.

When he landed, he slipped and struck his head on the overhang, Brown said, sustaining head trauma. Ann Arbor fire officials said the student wasn't conscious when he was taken to the emergency room.

Acting Battalion Chief Amy Brow said a window was broken out at the center to bring the student inside the building from the overhang.

It's unclear why the student was climbing down the outside of the building, police said. He was not a patient and was alone.

Police said he attended an off-campus party prior to the accident, but declined to say whether he had been drinking. Officers responded to the center after a health system staff member saw the student on a roof, trying to get down, Brown said. By the time officers arrived, the student was on the overhang. Brown said she does not believe the staff member had an opportunity to talk to the student.

The student appears to have accessed the exterior of the building from an adjacent parking structure, she said. He accessed the second-floor roof from the third-floor roof and was on at least one level higher, Brown said.

It does not appear he entered the building on East Medical Center Drive, she said, but police are reviewing surveillance footage. She said she didn't know what time he left the party or what distance the party was from the center.

The student's name has not been released.



Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

Where's the updated part? That he's still in critical condition? I don't understand. Why is there no more information than that? What was he doing there? Did you even make an attempt to talk to anyone at the party he attended? Did you make any attempt to talk to his parents? Police?


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 6:26 p.m.

I have no idea why this student was where he was. But, I do know, long before my children starting using the term "Parkour", running around downtown building rooftops was a favorite pastime of kids growing up in Ann Arbor.


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 4:40 a.m.

Is the unnamed subject's failed exploit on YouTube yet? If not, why not? ;-) Notice: because witnesses saw him dangling and falling and slipping and being injured: it's an exploit, not an unfortunate accident. By definition: such a person cannot be a victim because there was no coercion or outside factors forcing their action. BTW: Haven't checked every possible dictionary but "parkour" or "Parkour" (while in limited use) apparently is not officially a word, yet. Such a word isn't needed because: this activity (jumping-tumbling-climbing- falling-rolling-brachiating) is already identified by such terms as "acrobatic stunts." Or just "stunts." The alternately used term, "Free Running" is also not needed and is in fact misleading - because it involves more than running, it involves stunts done while sometimes running. Besides, other than dangling and falling, the actions of the subject do not fit any of these terms. Not that I'm speculating about this incident - which available evidence shows to be an apparently unauthorized access to possibly risky areas of the U of M Cancer Center. This story makes one wonder: why the attempt to conceal the individual's identity and his condition relating to blood alcohol content?? Will it require a FIA filing to get this information? If so, WHY? RE: "He accessed the second-floor roof from the third-floor roof and was on at least level higher, Brown said." -- This needs editing for clarification. "...on at least level higher" makes no sense whatever.


Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Thank you lexicon police! No, we don't need parkour or free running to describe a contemporary urban phenomenon that is distinctly different from acrobatics or any of the other terms you so authoritatively assert will do. Never mind that the objective is different, the environment is different, the participants are a distinct and different group. Stunts is stunts.


Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 1:10 a.m.

Sketchey. Super sketchey.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 10:26 p.m.

All I can say is that between the water main break and now this, what a strange week for the Cancer Center. Hopefully the young man recovers.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 8:33 p.m.

Anything I could say here would be purely speculative. I choose to let the facts fall where they may.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

John is right. This accident shouldn't have happened. However, "proper safety and security procedures" being in place as he mentions should've meant this individual shouldn't have been climbing buildings in the rain at 1am after attending a party. It's called personal responsibility, and the hospital is not at fault. His insurance company is going to love footing that bill. Furthermore, "safety locks on the door" is something parents put in place for curious one-year olds. A U of M student should know better.


Tue, Jan 17, 2012 : 7:16 a.m.

Easy to be cold when you don't know the person.

Kai Petainen

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 6 p.m.

good grief. this goes into the category of... 'what were you thinking?'

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:44 p.m.

Oh my, are they sure he was a student and not a patient trying to escape?


Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 1:45 a.m.

hehe you got called slick.

Wolf's Bane

Sat, Jan 14, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

"It does not appear he entered the building..." There you go. No one actually knows, slick. Maybe he didn't want to undergo treatment?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 7:23 p.m.

One: The article says "It does not appear he entered the building..." Two: Why would you have to "escape" from the Cancer Center, when you could just walk out the front door?


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:46 p.m.

Hopefully this young man will fully recover. However, this situation begs the following questions: 1) How did he get to the roof? 2) Why were there not safety locks and alarms on the doors to alert security that the roof had been accessed? 3) Did the people who saw him on the roof call the police? 4) Were there security cameras for the roof and if so were they being monitored? This accident should not have happened if proper safety and security procedures were in place.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 8:42 p.m.

This is John reasoning: If someone were to come over to your house at 1am and climb up on to your roof, fall and become seriously injured, you are to blame for failing to have proper safety and security procedures in place. Surely you should have had motion detectors and pressure sensors on your siding and roof to ensure you are alerted to any person who might try to scale your residence. Why wasnt their a lock on your roof so no one could access it? And to top it all off, your neighbor videotaped the whole thing from their window on an ipad! In all honesty, accidents happen. However it seems like you are quick to place blame on the University and that seems quite rediculous.

Rod Johnson

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

Why wasn't this young man being continuously tracked via embedded RFID chips? If only society could achieve a state of round the clock monitoring of every citizen and and complete control of access to every location, just imagine how many senseless tragedies could be avoided.

longtime AA

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 8:10 p.m.

Yes, we all hope the young man recovers. And we don't really know what happened. But the questions you asked are fantastic. In fact, it seems you think everyone is the cause of the problem except the young man. Are you a lawyer? If so, you could represent Lee Harvey Oswald and sue JFK for getting in the way of the bullet.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 5:04 p.m.

"It does not appear he entered the building in order to access the third-floor roof..."


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.



Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

People run all over town climbing buildings, it's called "Urban Parkour" and is extremely dangerous.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

@elizabeth, that's pretty cool stuff. Just to clarify, don't mistake my thoughts about the safety of parkour for disapproval. This instance seems to be a bad mix of over confidence and alcohol, although it's too soon to draw conclusions. Most of the people who do this type of activity only suffer minor injuries and a few broken bones.

Elizabeth Edwards

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 4:07 p.m.

Although this story does not report any evidence of urban parkour, other instances of parkour have been noted in Ann Arbor. Check out this story on recent parkour happenings in Ann Arbor. <a href=""></a>


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

the practice has been expanded to simply free climbing around cities. It originated in areas of europe with dilapidated building structures for people to run through/over. Aside from this, i can't imagine what else they would be doing climbing a building at 1:30 in the morning.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

Parkour seems unlikely at 1:30 a.m., when it was (or at least had been) raining.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

&quot;Parkour (abbreviated PK) is a training method founded by David Belle in the 1990s which focuses on rational movement in both the natural and urban environments. The focus is to move around obstacles with speed and efficiency.&quot; Somehow I doubt this kid was practicing anything like Urban Parkour.

Dr. I. Emsayin

Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

More likely to get emergency help than if he was climbing a mountain


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

This is a very strange story. It doesn't sound good. I hope he is able to recover and get some help.