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The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff, Wire Reports

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2018 07:23 PM

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Massive Piece Of Metal From Neyland Stadium Jumbo Tron Flies Into Crowd, Hits Man During Saturday's Game From Driving Rain, High Winds

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (SOURCE: WIRES, WVLT)-- A massive piece of metal from the jumbotron at Neyland Stadium flew into the crowd and hit one man Saturday, according to a Volunteers fan.

Chad Wyrick told local news outlets he was sitting in the stands watching highlights on the jumbotron about 15-20 minutes before kickoff.

All of a sudden, Wyrick said he saw a big piece of metal detach from the screen and land on an older man sitting near him.

"At first, everybody was shocked; it went completely silent," said Wyrick. "The impact was so loud."

Wryick said he saw the metal hit the man in the back but couldn't tell if it hit him in the head from where he was standing.

The Tennessee fan said the man appeared to be okay but was noticeably frightened. He captured the aftermath of the accident on his cell phone.

"He was obviously shaken, but physically, he seemed to get up on his own, with the assistance of others, and escort himself out of the stadium," said Wyrick. "I was amazed and shocked and hoping this man was okay, and others around me were hoping the same."

The man did not return to Neyland and was taken to the hospital, according to Wyrick.

Wyrick said he may have been the only one in his section to see the metal fly off the jumbotron. He added everyone around him was questioning how it got in the stands.

"Everybody else was looking at the field or talking to each other," said Wyrick. "They were just amazed at what had happened."

Wyrick said he does not know if the man was a Tennessee or LSU fan because he wasn't wearing any colors suggesting what team he was supporting.

Wyrick said the colors didn't matter at the time and wishes the man a speedy recovery.

"I'm praying for you, man, I hope you're doing well," said Wyrick. "These things shouldn't happen at the University of Tennessee; our facilities should be top notch, and I hate it for him."

Wyrick called the mishap unacceptable.

Local 8 News reached out to the University of Tennessee for comment.

A spokesperson for UT said the administration is aware that the metal hit the man but do not know his condition.

UT officials said their spectators' safety is their top priority.