Ex-LSU player loses leg after being shot by dog on hunting trip – The Denver Post

Ex-LSU player Matt Branch has lost a leg after being shot by a dog while on a hunting trip. That’s according to a close friend and hunting companion of the former offensive lineman who warned others to be “the utmost careful when it comes to gun safety.”

“All of us have hunted for 20 years or more and none of us thought about that happening,” Micah Heckford said to the Clarion Ledger recently about the incident, which occurred in late December and resulted in the amputation of Branch’s left leg. The Louisiana native, who played at LSU from 2009 to 2011, was reported to be in intensive care at University of Mississippi Medical Center and is expected to recover.

“The opportunities for an accident are there and we just don’t realize it,” Heckford added. “We think we’re being safe, but are we? If there’s a shell in that gun, anything can happen.”

Branch was struck by a shotgun blast when a dog who was with his group jumped into the back of their Ford Ranger and stepped on the weapon’s safety, setting it to fire mode, while also managing to pull the trigger. Heckford said he and Branch’s cousin, David Joe Branch, immediately put Branch in the vehicle and called 911 while they drove to the nearest access point for an ambulance.

When first responders arrived and cut off Branch’s waders and pants, Heckford said, “I think that’s when it hit me how serious it was. It was at that point in time I realized how much he had bled. His pants were just soaked in blood.”

The incident occurred Dec. 28, at approximately 9:40 a.m. at Eagle Lake, Mississippi, located about 70 miles west of the university’s hospital, in an area where Branch and his friends have gotten together for annual duck hunts. In a Facebook post a few days afterward, Heckford said, “Matt has undergone multiple critical surgeries including the amputation of his left leg and re-connecting his femoral artery in his left upper leg.”

A GoFundMe page, noting that Branch has a wife and a 1-year-old son, has been set up to help him pay for his medical expenses. “Normally, sustaining these injuries while in such a remote geographic area would be life ending for most any human being,” the page states, “but miraculously Matt has survived.”

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