Ex-LSU football player has his leg amputated after he was ‘shot by a Labrador named Tito during a duck hunting trip in Mississippi’
- Matt Branch, who played along the offensive line for Louisiana State from 2009 until 2011, lost his leg after taking a shotgun blast during a recent hunting trip
- According to his friend Micah Heckford, a 12-gauge shotgun had been left on the bed of their truck as they prepared for the trip
- The dog jumped onto the gun’s safety, pulling its trigger and setting off the gun
- Heckford says the shotgun shell fired through the side of the truck and hit Branch’s left thigh. Branch has since had the leg amputated, but should recover
Matt Branch was accidentally hit by a blast from his shotgun, which he had left loaded in the bed of his pickup truck. According to a friend, the gun was set off by a Labrador
A former Louisiana State University offensive lineman was shot while duck hunting in Mississippi and subsequently had his leg amputated, according to his friend, who blames a Labrador named ‘Tito.’
Matt Branch was preparing for a group duck hunting trip, his friend Micah Heckford told The Clarion Ledger, when he was accidentally hit by a blast from his shotgun, which he had left loaded in the bed of his pickup truck.
Heckford said Tito jumped onto the truck bed, ‘stepped on the safety of Branch’s shotgun and pulled the trigger.’
The 12-gauge shotgun shell fired through the side of the truck and hit Branch’s left thigh, according to Heckford, who added that Branch is expected to recover after having his leg amputated.
‘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 told the Clarion Ledger. ‘I was at the tailgate no more than 4 feet away from him.’
That is when Tito jumped onto the bed of the truck, setting off the gun and injuring Branch.
According to Branch’s friend Micah Heckford (center left), Branch (far left) was hurt during their annual duck hunting trip in Eagle Lake, Mississippi
‘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.
‘In the midst of the chaos at this point, I ran over to Matt to assess what had happened,’ Heckford continued. ‘We had no clue what the damage was at this point in time.’
‘I immediately yelled to [Branch’s younger brother, David Joe] to call 911. As quick as possible, we picked up Matt and loaded him into the Ranger. I jumped in the bed and David Joe took off driving.’
There has been a GoFundMe page set up to help Branch, who played at LSU from 2009 until 2011 with current NFL stars such as Odell Beckham Jr., Eric Reid, and Tyrann Mathieu
The group drove Branch to an access road, where first responders could reach him and treat his wounds. As Heckford explained, firefighters cut off Branch’s waders and pants.
‘I think that’s when it hit me how serious it was,’ Heckford said. ‘It was at that point in time I realized how much he had bled. His pants were just soaked in blood.’
Branch was transported to a nearby hospital and later moved again before having his leg amputated.
According to Heckford, Branch has undergone several surgeries in total, but his cognitive abilities are fine.
‘The opportunities for an accident are there and we just don’t realize it,’ Heckford said. ‘We think we’re being safe, but are we? If there’s a shell in that gun, anything can happen.’
There has been a GoFundMe page set up to help Branch, who played at LSU from 2009 until 2011 with current NFL stars such as Odell Beckham Jr., Eric Reid, and Tyrann Mathieu.
Matt Branch (left) did have his left leg amputated and has required several surgeries