He Was Reffing a Game. Then a Blast, and a Fall to the Ground

Cannon blast injures referee at college football game in Maine
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2019 12:11 PM CDT
He Was Reffing a Game. Then a Blast, and a Fall to the Ground
Still from the video showing the moment the ref went down.   (YouTube)

At Maine Maritime Academy, enthusiastic fans at the school's college football games partake in a loud tradition: They shoot blank shells out of cannons whenever the home team scores a touchdown. That tradition went terribly awry, though, last weekend after an alumnus fired off his device and struck a referee in the head with whatever shot out of the cannon, the Washington Post reports. A video out of Castine shows the moment the ref falls to the ground in the end zone after a blast and puff of smoke, clutching his head as he goes down. He remains motionless as other refs and staff rush over to tend to him.

Deadspin notes that the practice of firing off cannons after touchdowns is "pretty widespread," but the difference here is that this cannon didn't fire off a blank shell: Instead, the cannon had been packed with "black powder and a substance that ... had [been] made into a wad," per authorities. The ref, who ended up in the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, was socked in the head by the wad. "The Academy's president has directed that these devices will no longer be permitted on campus for future events," the school says in a statement. The sheriff's office says the case will be sent to the DA to see if criminal charges are warranted. (More strange stuff stories.)

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