Onlooker took a hit at last UF game

Dug Jones got tangled up with safety Will Hill on the sidelines.


Published: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 1, 2010 at 11:08 p.m.

Football players were not the only ones taking hits at last Saturday's game against the University of Kentucky.

Dug Jones, assistant vice president of economic development at Santa Fe College's Center for Innovation & Economic Development, was sitting in his wheelchair watching the Gators play from the sidelines when free safety Will Hill collided with him, knocking him off his chair. Jones was not injured.

Jones said in an e-mail that he has been sitting in the same spot for 30 years, and this is the first time a player has ever run into him.

Video of the accident has been posted on YouTube.

The crash occurred toward the end of the second quarter. The Wildcats were on offense and took a shot downfield. The receiver was close to the sidelines and when Will Hill made a play on the ball, he ran out of bounds, tackling Jones in the process.

“I've always anticipated the game action well enough to avoid any collisions,” Jones said in an e-mail. “Unfortunately, on Saturday, I got too focused on seeing whether the UK receiver controlled the ball inbounds and lost track of the safety coming over the top.”

“The impact looked more significant than it really was,” Jones said.

After the collision, Hill briefly checked on Jones to see if he was OK. He also expressed concern after the game, Jones said.

Chip Howard, a senior associate athletic director, said this is the first time he has seen someone get hit on the sidelines.

There are parameters for anyone on the sidelines. Spectators must stand behind a marked yellow line, and Jones was where he was supposed to be, Howard said. Security guards ensure that no one steps out of the parameters.

Howard said Jones got up unscathed after the hit.

In the late 1970s, ADA seating was on the sidelines, and Jones is the last of people with disabilities to still sit there. Now, ADA seating is elsewhere in the stadium, but Jones is grandfathered in and has credentials to sit on the sidelines for the games, Howard said.

The number of people on the sidelines varies for each game and there are multiple reasons for people to have a sidelines pass, Howard said. Vendors, sponsors, band members, cheerleaders, photographers and news media can get sidelines access if needed.

For the Kentucky game, 60 photo passes, 30 east sidelines passes, 25 west sidelines passes and 40 team area passes were distributed. Those on the operations team are also given passes in case there is an emergency, but do not watch the game from the sideline.

“Anybody on the sidelines has an opportunity to come in contact with a player,” Howard said.

Safety changes are not expected to be made as a result of this collision, he added.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top