Teen Impaled by Giant Splinter in Basketball Game

Floorboard split apart in freak accident during Wisconsin middle-school tourney
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2016 8:57 AM CST

Thirty-four teams of middle school basketball players were gathered at a Wisconsin tournament Sunday when a freak accident took place on the court, WDJT reports. "I don't know if we'll ever hear something like this ever happening again anywhere," says Perry Hibner, the tourney's organizer, per WGN. A surveillance video shows a 14-year-old player as she runs under the basket and falls to the floor—and then tells the referee she's unable to get up. The eighth-grader had been impaled by an enormous splinter from one of the gym's floorboards. "The official said, 'What do you mean? Are you hurt?'" Hibner recalls. "And she's like, 'There's a piece of wood stuck to me.'" That piece of wood, which pierced the girl's abdomen when the floorboard split up the middle, was "3 to 4 inches long and in some parts, probably a quarter to a half-inch deep," per Hibner.

The gym was emptied out when emergency workers arrived and tried to figure out how to transport the injured girl and the wood embedded inside her. "We thought they were going to have to remove an entire board and take the board to the hospital," Hibner says. Rescuers were finally able to extricate her and get her to a hospital, where she spent the night. None of her vital organs were affected, and she's expected to be back on the court soon. Meanwhile, school officials are trying to figure out how the floor fractured the way it did, considering it's only 15 years old. "It was a complete fluke," Hibner says. "I just think sometimes strange things happen and there's no explanation." (Another teen was impaled in a freak accident—by a golf club.)

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