PROVO, Utah – A newspaper photographer got a little too close to the action at the state high school track championships — and was speared through the leg by a javelin.
Ryan McGeeney of the Standard-Examiner was spared serious injury in Saturday's mishap, and even managed to snap a photo of his speared leg while others worked to help him.
"If I didn't, it would probably be my editor's first question when I got back," McGeeney said later.
The 33-year-old McGeeney, an ex-Marine who spent six months in Afghanistan, was taking pictures of the discus event and apparently wandered into off-limits area set aside for the javelin throw.
Striking just below the knee, the javelin tip went through the skin and emerged on the other side of his leg.
"It wasn't real painful. ... I was very lucky in that it didn't hit any blood vessels, nerves, ligaments or tendons," McGeeney said.
Much of the javelin was cut off at the scene. The piece in McGeeney's leg was removed at a hospital, and he received 13 stitches.
The javelin was thrown by Anthony Miles, a Provo High School student who said when he saw what had happened, "my heart just stopped."
"One of the first things that came to my mind was, 'Good thing we brought a second javelin,'" Miles' coach, Richard Vance, said Monday. He said Miles was "in a little bit of shock," but he assured the athlete that it was not his fault.
With a subsequent throw, Miles went on to win the state title in javelin for teams in Provo High's size classification, 4-A.