You know a video’s gone viral when you’re at the emergency room being treated for injuries suffered during the incident that all the cameras caught and the ER doctors call it up on YouTube to help with their diagnosis.
That’s what happened to 35-year-old Lubbock resident Chris Due on Saturday after Dekaney High beat Cibolo Creek Steele 34-14 in the Class 5A Division II state high school football final at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The athletic media relations director at Lubbock Christian University, who also works with the promotions and marketing company IMG on game-day operations for the UIL, was attempting to get Dekaney Coach Willie Amendola over to the awards presentation when someone yelled “Watch Out!”
“But I don’t think the word OUT ever got out,” Due told the TM Daily Post. “My initial thought was, here comes a water bath.” (At Cowboys Stadium, Due explained, officials clear out all the Gatorade late in the fourth quarter to prevent players from using it in celebrations, as its stickiness would not be good for Jerry’s artificial turf.)
As the video shows, it was a lot more than a water bath:
Due’s the first one to get hit. “I was the lead pin, if you will,” he said. “I didn’t go down; I kind of spun off the hit, flew up and over, and my right heel was run over. I took about five or ten steps and then my hip just shut down, and I dropped to the ground.” Due suffered some serious abrasions but no structural damage. A former junior hockey player growing up in Oklahoma (who was also the voice of Lubbock’s defunct minor pro team, the Cotton Kings), Due was apparently served well by those instincts. “When you get hit from behind or on the boards, always spin,” he said.
As Jenny Dial of the Houston Chronicle noted, after Due gets hit, Amendola falls into the cart and tries “unsuccessfully to gain control of the cart, spinning the steering wheel with his left hand, before rolling out onto the artificial turf. As he tumbled out, a pursuing field worker hopped aboard and stopped the cart quickly.”
Due still didn’t really know or remember what had happened on the way to the emergency room. He finally learned some details via a text mesage from his boss, LCU’s athletic director, who had seen it on television. From what Due now understands, apparently one of the stadium workers was picking up the heavy sideline pylons and tossed one. It somehow managed to land on the floorboards of the driver’s side of the cart—right on the accelerator. (In the video, you can see someone remove that pylon before braking to stop the cart.)
Swollen, bruised, and unable to drive home to Lubbock for a few days because of his injury (and the painkillers), Due did find it a little disconcerting to call up YouTube videos where he could actually hear people laughing as he got run over. He also let some people know on Twitter that it wasn’t as fun as it looked.
“I’m just glad that it was me that got hit and not a player, a coach’s child, or a ball boy,” he said. “All those individuals were on the field less than 96 seconds before that.”