Amateur referee and player injured as light pole crashes at high school match in Arkansas

Catherine Ivill
A high school referee in Arkansas was taken to the hospital after a being struck by a falling light pole while working the sideline

A referee and a student were both injured by a falling light pole during a high school match in Arkansas last Saturday. 

The referee, identified as Rigo Resendez​, remained hospitalized through Monday having broken his leg in two places after being hit by the 80-foot pole as it crashed to the turf due to high winds in the area. 

Resendez was working the sideline for a match Saturday between Mena High School and Dardanelle High School when the winds brought down the light pole, which fell into the field of play and directly struck the official, while also causing injuries to a player who was near by. 

The unidentified player from Mena reportedly suffered cuts to his head and leg but can be seen largely avoiding the impact of the falling lights in the shocking video of the incident. 

David Hopkins, superintendent of Clarksville​ schools where a high school tournament was being hosted, told Little Rock, Arkansas Fox affiliate KLRT​ that he was "very grateful" that the injuries were not more severe. 

“It was a bad, bad situation,” he said. “We’re just very grateful that we got out of this with [only] injuries.”

The school district also released a statement saying the stadium where the pole fell and other athletic facilities at the school with similar structures would be closed until all fixtures can be inspected. 

"Strong winds toppled a light pole at the football stadium today while a soccer game was underway," it read.

"A student from another district and a referee were injured, and transported to Johnson County Regional Medical Center for treatment. Their injuries were not life threatening. The football stadium and adjacent baseball field will be closed until all poles can be inspected and necessary repairs made. Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured today."

Report suggest that winds in the area reached speeds up to 50 mph, causing the light pole to topple.

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