ESPN News Services
A former LSU offensive lineman was shot while duck hunting in Mississippi last month and lost his leg, according to his friend, who says the dog did it.
Micah Heckford told The Clarion Ledger that he and several others were on a duck-hunting trip near Eagle Lake on Dec. 28 when Matt Branch was accidentally hit by a blast from his shotgun, which he had left loaded in the bed of his pickup truck.
Heckford said a Labrador retriever named Tito jumped onto the truck bed, stepped on the safety of Branch’s shotgun and pulled the trigger. Heckford said the 12-gauge shotgun shell fired through the side of the truck and hit Branch’s left thigh.
“The gun shot,” Heckford told the newspaper. “Everybody looked up. The first thing I saw was Matt, and within two to three seconds, he realized he was hit.”
The group scrambled to get Branch medical treatment. When firefighters were tending to Branch, Heckford said he saw the extent of the damage.
“I think that’s when it hit me how serious it was,” Heckford told The Clarion Ledger. “It was at that point in time I realized how much he had bled. His pants were just soaked in blood.”
Branch has since had the leg amputated and is expected to recover, though he remains in intensive care, according to Heckford.
A three-year player for LSU from 2009 to 2011, Branch had his football career end after his junior season due to a number of injuries. He played in 28 games for the Tigers as a backup guard and tight end.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.