JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What started as a birthday outing at the Jaguars game on Sunday turned into confusion and frustration for a Fernandina Beach girl diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
The Thomas family said it wants to make clear it is not shaming the Jaguars organization over what happened, but hopes everyone working at the gates knows where to direct people with medical needs.
Adam Thomas said he treated his 17-year-old sister Ashley Thomas to her first Jags game and because she's diabetic, she carries insulin and needles. When they got to the stadium an hour before kickoff, Adam Thomas said they ran into trouble getting inside and missed the first quarter.
Ashley Thomas said she reached out to the stadium via email. In a response, she was instructed to enter between Gate 2 and Gate 3.
"We go to gate number three, where he said to go, and I asked if this was the medical line and they said, 'No,'' Ashley Thomas said.
Her brother said he went to get help and they were instructed to walk past the general admissions area to a white tent. When they arrived there, Adam Thomas said no one was there to help.
That's when the duo said they were instructed by another employee to head to the baggage check line, which they said still wasn't the right spot.
"Thankfully another lady with a medical condition had to go through the same line I had to go through," Ashley Thomas said. "She told us where to go, so we followed them."
Ashley Thomas said this shouldn't have happened and believes more can be done to make the process easier.
"They definitely need more signs and directions towards the medical line," she said. "It was not labeled at all, and clearly the employees had no idea where I should be going."
A spokesperson for the Jaguars issued a statement that reads:
The Jaguars understand that some fans may require medically necessary food or medicine on game day. As such, we encourage fans to follow the instructions available on our website to ensure a secure and smooth entry into the stadium. Fans should contact the Jaguars prior to game day for pre-approval in which case they would receive a medical exception letter that would help expedite their entry to the stadium.