Bigfork High School senior Anders Epperly is “pretty fortunate” to have escaped relatively unscathed after he was hit by an errant javelin at track and field practice Thursday night.
Epperly, a standout three-sport athlete for the Vikings, was out of bounds when he was hit in the right chest by a throw from another student-athlete that pierced his skin and caused his lung to partially collapse. Bigfork coaches immediately treated Epperly and managed to stop the wound from bleeding, but he was airlifted to Kalispell Regional Medical Center for treatment and observation because he was having difficulty breathing. Epperly’s father, Jim, is a coach for the Vikings and was at practice when the incident happened. He said he expects his son will remain hospitalized for a few days.
“He’s fine; he’s recovering,” Jim Epperly said. “He was pretty fortunate it didn’t hit him somewhere else or hit him in the center of the chest.”
Anders Epperly competes in the javelin, triple jump and some sprint races for the Bigfork track and field team. He is one of the most decorated basketball players in Montana history, having led Bigfork to back-to-back Class B state championships as the team’s point guard, setting the state’s all-time career assist record along the way. He also played quarterback for the Vikings football team.
“We’re sorry it happened, but we’re very thankful it wasn’t worse,” Jim Epperly said. “It’s a good reminder for everybody to be safe and be watchful when you’re out there.”