Teen Whose Eye Was Impaled By Javelin In ‘Freak Accident’ At Track Competition Listed In Fair Condition

Joanna Jaguar - Author

Jun. 27 2016, Updated 3:49 p.m. ET

A teen who was impaled by his own javelin after a “freak accident” at a USA Track & Field meet at Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, has been listed in fair condition according to his parents. Despite having been impaled through the eye socket, he has retained some sight in the injured eye.

Article continues below advertisement

18-year-old Parker Kennedy just graduated from Hood River Valley High School this month, as a track and field champion who had recently signed on to be a pole vaulter for the University of Washington. Last month, the teen won the Oregon 5A championship for pole vaulting, and helped his team take third place in the 4×100 relay. This past Friday, he was competing at the USA Track & Field meet, warming up to take part in the javelin throw, when a terrible accident happened that has left Kennedy’s future as a track and field champ in potential jeopardy.


As Parker was warming up for his turn at the javelin toss, he threw his 8-foot-long, metal tipped spear; but, instead of it landing with the metal tip digging into the ground, it somehow managed to land upside down, at an odd 45-degree angle, said Donnie Herneisen, the head coach of Hood River Valley High School. The teen walked over to retrieve his javelin, but he tripped when the spikes on his cleats got caught on a loose patch of grass, and he tumbled toward the deadly spear. The javelin impaled Kennedy’s right eye socket near his nose.

Luckily, the odd angle of the javelin forced it downwards toward the roof of Parker’s mouth, rather than driving it upward toward his brain, said Herneisen, according to Buzzfeed.

Article continues below advertisement
Blockquote open

“It was kind of sticking up at a 45-degree angle, and he literally tripped and fell. His spikes caught in the grass and it was the wrong angle and the javelin pierced his eye. As I understand it, from the folks who were there, it went at a downward angle towards his mouth, not towards his brain.”

- Blockquote close

According to the Washington Post, a bystander removed the javelin that had impaled Parker’s eye before medics could get there, and the teen was then airlifted to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital in Portland.

Though the teen thankfully didn’t suffer brain damage, he will still likely need reconstructive surgery.

Kennedy’s parents issued a statement through OHSU on Sunday morning, thanking friends and family for their support, and giving an update on their son’s progress, saying that though his vision is still blurry at this point, he can still see somewhat out of the eye that was impaled by the javelin. He is able to see and identify colors.

Article continues below advertisement
Blockquote open

“Parker is in fair condition. He is talking, moving, and showing signs of progress. He is able to see out of his injured eye, but his vision is still slightly blurry. His neuro status is good. He’s staying at the hospital so his team of doctors and nurses can monitor his progress.

“Our family would like to thank the many people who have helped Parker, including the Tualatin paramedics who were first on the scene, his health care team at OHSU, his track family, and all the family and friends who have reached out to support us.”

- Blockquote close

18-year-old Parker Kennedy isn’t the only one who’s been impaled by a javelin over the years. In fact, the entire sport of javelin toss is the subject of debates raging in the United States. At present, only 20 states allow the sport, and javelin toss has been banned in many high schools across the country for decades.

Article continues below advertisement

Though some claim javelin injuries don’t happen very often, between 1982 and 2011, there have been 25 track-related deaths associated javelin, shotput, and discus. That number, however, doesn’t factor in those who’ve been impaled, but not killed by a javelin, like Oregon teen Parker Kennedy.


Latest oregon News and Updates

    © Copyright 2023 The Inquisitr. The Inquisitr is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.