‘Damn, he got me right in my pacemaker’
This one's a real heartbreaker.
An offensive analyst for American college football powerhouse LSU is on the mend after being punched in his pacemaker following the Tigers' agonising 74-72 loss to Texas A&M.
Steve Kragthorpe, 53, said he was struck in the chest by a man with credentials from the Aggies sideline after the NCAA record-tying seven-overtime marathon.
"Out of nowhere, I got nailed," Kragthorpe told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. "I didn't go down, but I clutched over. I was like, 'Damn, he got me right in my pacemaker.' Then it started fluttering like he jostled it."
Footage of the melee posted on social media showed a wild scene after the game. Members of both teams are seen pushing and shoving each other frantically as one photographer tries to capture the scrum, which quickly dissipated - but not before Kragthorpe caught a punch to the chest, he said.
That prompted LSU director of player development Kevin Faulk to go after the man who struck Kragthorpe, whose identity has not been confirmed by Texas A&M officials, according to the newspaper.
"I feel OK, but not as good as I was," Kragthorpe said. "I felt like he tore something in there. I will be seeing my neurologist in Baton Rouge on Monday."
Kragthorpe, who was evaluated by Texas A&M's team doctor as well as emergency responders at the game, said he doesn't want to press charges against the man who assaulted him.
"I don't want to pursue it," he told the newspaper. "It's one of those things that happens in the heat of the moment."
Messages by The Post seeking comment from Texas A&M's athletic department, including director of athletics Scott Woodward, were not immediately returned early Monday. Kragthorpe said the university may be held liable if his pacemaker - which was placed in his chest last year to stimulate brain activity following his Parkinson's disease diagnosis in 2011 - was damaged in the assault.
"I didn't appreciate getting punched in the pacemaker," he said. "I'm not feeling good right now. I have no idea who the guy is. But he was wearing an A&M shirt, and I think I saw him signalling during the game. He was credentialed, so A&M should know who he is."
A nephew of Aggies coach Jimbo Fisher, Cole Fisher, was identified by multiple sources as the man who punched Kragthorpe, the Times-Picayune reports.
Jimbo Fisher, for his part, said he had no knowledge of the incident during a post-game press conference, but the school's sports information director confirmed that the team has an undergraduate student manager named Cole Fisher.
Faulk confirmed that he sprang into action after seeing Kragthorpe, a former head coach at Tulsa and Louisville, getting punched in the chest as things "got out of hand" after the epic showdown in College Station.
"But I was just behaving as my mom and dad raised me," the former NFL running back told the newspaper. "This guy hit Coach Kragthorpe in the chest. I just stepped in. It just happened. I'd rather talk about the game. It was one of the greatest games I've ever been a part of."
Kragthorpe said the skirmish got started when Texas A&M wide receiver coach Dameyune Craig started "trash-talking and yelling and screaming a bunch of crap" after the Aggies' victory.
"I went up to Dameyune and said, 'Hey, Dameyune, get out of here. You won. You don't need to be doing that. Move along,'" Kragthorpe recalled. "And that's when I got hit. I mean, I got nailed. He was a young guy. I'm 53. I'm not going to fight him. I have Parkinson's, but even if I didn't, I haven't gotten in a fight since high school."
LSU has reached out to Southeastern Conference officials regarding the incident, senior associate athletics director Robert Munson confirmed to the newspaper.
Kragthorpe, meanwhile, said he's upset that the 146-point record-breaking game was marred by the fight.
"What happened will put an asterisk on what was one of the greatest college football games in the history of the game," Kragthorpe told the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. "A game that will be talked about for the next 10 years. It was like a Roman gladiator thing out there. It was a fight to the death."