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Ex-Football Star Gets Leg Amputated After Being Shot By Dog

Former college footballer Matt Branch was on a deer and duck hunting trip with several friends at Eagle Lake in Mississippi on December 28 when the freak accident happened.

“It was a normal morning,” Branch’s friend Micah Heckford told the Mississipi Clarion Ledger. “We got up, made coffee and talked about our game plan. Everybody was pumped up.

"We rode the levee the day before and there were a ton of ducks. We were excited.”

But the mood shifted quickly when a Labrador named Tito jumped up into the tray of a ute and stepped on a loaded shotgun, sending a bullet straight through Branch's left thigh.

“Everybody looked up," Heckford said. "The first thing I saw was Matt and within two to three seconds he realized he was hit.”

Matt Branch #79 of the LSU Tigers lines up to block against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 3, 2009 IMAGE: Getty/Joe Robbins

The group called paramedics who rushed the father of one to a nearby medical centre. After several hours of surgery and blood transfusions, doctors decided there was no other choice but to amputate his leg.

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The 6ft 6in Branch made 28 appearances for the Louisiana State University Tigers from 2008-2011 before a series of injuries cut his career short.

With a long road to recovery ahead, friends and family have set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the hefty medical expenses.

At the time of writing, it had raised more than $74,000.

IMAGE: GoFundMe

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In a Facebook post, Heckford said it's a reminder of the importance of gun safety.

"DO NOT be afraid to be THAT guy on EVERY hunt that reminds EVERYONE multiple times just how important safety is", he wrote. "Please DO NOT let complacency get the best of you.

"There was 80+ years of hunting experience amongst our group the morning this happened."