Dieter Strack: Tragedy Strikes Meet as Javelin Throw Kills 74-Year-Old Referee

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterAugust 27, 2012

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The nightmare scenario every sports fan has feared from track and field meets took place in Germany when a 75-year-old referee was speared through the neck with a javelin. 

The Daily Mail (h/t Big Lead Sports) reports the annual Wilhelm Unger Games were canceled immediately after a javelin judge, Dieter Strack, was struck in the throat, severing his carotid artery. 

Dieter [Strack] had gone to measure the throw of a previous athlete when the javelin from the next contestant hit him in the throat and exited out of his neck. 


Update: Monday, August 27, 2:20 p.m. ET

While The Daily Mail and Mirror report Strack died at the age of 75, the Associated Press is reporting the man's age at 74. 

They also make note that the young man who threw the javelin was actually 15, and not 17 as reported by other reports. 

The AP also states his name as Dieter Strack, not Schmidt as in previous reports. 

----End of Update----


Paramedics managed to revive Strack at the scene, and he was then taken to Dusseldorf University Hospital. 

Unfortunately, the referee would not survive the extensive injury and loss of blood suffered from the javelin mishap. 

Michael Sandforth, the Dusseldorf fire department spokesman, explains further: 

He was bleeding very badly and lost a lot of blood. Our emergency doctor administered first aid and then he was taken to hospital. There was a helicopter at the scene but the doctor made the decision that there was an urgent need to bring him back round so he was taken nearby to the university clinic in the emergency doctor's vehicle.

Another awful part of this already-horrible tragedy is that the 17-year-old javelin (update above cites thrower is 15) thrower reportedly had to receive grief counseling along with seven spectators at the scene. 

Strack also had an 18-year-old granddaughter, Fiona, who was due to compete at the same meet. 

The report goes on to cite the 75-year-old as being a "highly experienced international javelin judge," making this merely an awful accident that took the life of one man and no doubt placed one 17-year-old into a world of grief. 


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