A former LSU offensive lineman had his leg amputated after he was shot in a hunting accident.
And in an unbelievable twist, it was a dog who apparently pulled the trigger. Yes, really.
According to The Clarion Ledger, Matt Branch, who played for LSU from 2008-11, was with a group of friends duck hunting in Mississippi on Dec. 28 when a Labrador retriever named Tito jumped into the bed of an off-road vehicle and stepped on Branch’s shotgun, firing a shot.
The bullet hit Branch in the left thigh. The group realized quickly he was seriously injured.
Branch’s friend, Micah Heckford, explained what happened to The Clarion Ledger:
“At approximately 9:40 a.m., David Joe, David, Matt and I were all standing around the bed of the (Polaris) Ranger and Matt had laid his gun down flat in the bed of the Ranger and walked around on the passenger side to finish loading up,” Heckford said. “I was at the tailgate no more than 4 feet away from him.”
Seeing that the hunters were loading the vehicle, another hunting companion, a Labrador retriever named Tito, jumped in the bed of the Ranger. As he walked around finding a place to sit, he stepped on the safety of Branch’s shotgun and pulled the trigger.
“The gun shot,” Heckford said. “Everybody looked up. The first thing I saw was Matt and within two to three seconds he realized he was hit.”
Heckford said Branch’s pants were “soaked in blood” but the group was able to transport him to a road accessible to first responders.
A GoFundMe campaign set up to assist with the costs of his medical care revealed that Branch suffered “damage to his femoral artery as well as other vital vascular and muscle tissue.”
“After several hours of surgery and massive blood transfusions the decision was made to amputate a portion of his left leg in order to save his life,” the GoFundMe page says.
The incident cost him his leg, but Branch is expected to make a full recovery, Heckford told the Ledger.
Branch, who remains in intensive care, played 28 games as a reserve guard for the Tigers before medically retiring due to a series of injuries.
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