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Watch: Huge Light Pole Collapses on High School Soccer Player, Referee

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A high school soccer player and referee escaped with relatively minor injuries after a light pole came crashing down on them during a game.

The terrifying scene happened Saturday in Clarksville, Arkansas, during a game between Mena High School and Dardenelle High School.

As a player from Dardenelle readied for a throw-in, the light pole came crashing down, hitting the referee and clipping a player from Mena.

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The unnamed player escaped with just cuts to his head and legs, while referee Rigo Resendez suffered two broken bones in his leg.

KLRT-TV in Little Rock reported Monday that Resendez had one surgery and would have another soon. His stepmother said Resendez, a college student, also suffered an injured foot in the accident.

Strong winds caused the pole to topple over while a soccer jamboree took place on the field.

Danielle Meyer, who was at the game, told KFSM-TV in Fort Smith the pole hitting the ground sounded like an explosion.

“I mean, as soon as we stepped out of the truck, there was a big ol’ explosion and I thought maybe a tent had blown over,” she said.

“It seemed like (the wind) was 40 or 50  miles per hour. … I mean, even the goal posts where they play football were swaying back and forth,” Meyer said.

Clarksville schools superintendent David Hopkins said he was grateful that those hurt in the accident escaped alive.

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“It was a bad, bad situation,” Hopkins told KLRT. “We’re just very grateful that we got out of this with injuries. … We’re very blessed.”

Hopkins also said the district would look to see if anything else besides wind caused the pole to fall over.

In the meantime, the field at Clarksville High School is closed, and soccer coach Bryan Qualls said his team won’t be playing any home matches in the near future.

“It was really scary,” Qualls told the Southwest Times Record. “We are thankful that it wasn’t worse. We are evaluating the light poles and turf. The stadium is closed right now until further notice. We want to make sure it is safe, that’s our primary goal.”

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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