Disaster Strikes as Skydiving Grandpa Slams Full-Force Onto Football Field During Pre-Game Tradition

A pre-game skydiving event turned tragic Friday night as the skydiver parachuting into a Tennessee high school football game fell to the earth and was killed.

The event was designed to highlight what’s called the Musket Bowl, a game between David Crockett and Daniel Boone high schools, according to WJHL-TV. Having a skydiver is part of a tradition that goes along with the event, held this year in Jonesborough.

The Daily Mail identified the skydiver who perished as Richard Sheffield, 55, of Elizabethton, Tennessee. According to NBC News, he was described as a Tennessee grandfather.

“Since it was David Crockett’s new field, it was their first game, [the] first Musket Bowl on their new field. So I guess they were trying to celebrate it,” Daniel Boone sophomore Tyler Smith said to WJHL.

“Everyone was shocked, surprised and they didn’t know what to do. There [were] people rushing over and then the police got a hold of the situation,” Smith said of the reaction to the tragedy.

Jump TN of Greeneville, Tennessee, said the jumper had completed more than 1,500 jumps prior to the tragedy.

“The deceased was a highly experienced jumper with decades of experience to their credit and a well-respected member of the skydiving community,” a company representative said. “The entire skydiving community is saddened by the sudden loss of a wonderful member of their community.”

In a Facebook post reproduced by the Daily Mail, Stacey Sheffield said his father “was the best Dad, husband, and Pops there was.”

He wrote that his father “went out living, with NO REGRETS.”

“Until we fly again, Dad. I love you. Blue Skies,” he wrote.

Casey Sheffield, Stacey’s twin brother, said their father “knew the risks, we all did. But he loved to go fast, and that’s ultimately how he went out. We loved flying together and I’m thankful to have shared the sky with him.”

The tragedy caused a delay in the game.

“It was determined the impact on the whole community and that witnessed and experienced the situation to try to introduce some sense of normal,” said Jerry Boyd, superintendent for Washington County Schools, WJHL reported.

“On behalf of David Crockett High School, Daniel Boone High School, and the rest of the Washington County Schools community, we are saddened by the tragic incident that occurred prior to the start of tonight’s football game at the David Crockett High School football stadium,” Boyd said in a statement, according to NBC.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the injured skydiver that has passed away. We ask that everyone keep the family in their thoughts and prayers as they deal with the loss of a beloved husband, father, and grandfather,” he said.

Boyd said it is uncertain if the skydiving tradition will continue.

“At this point, I don’t know. It’s not unreasonable to have that response, but this is definitely unimaginable,” he said to WJHL.

CORRECTION, Oct. 24, 2022: The hometown of Richard Sheffield was misspelled in an earlier version of this article.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.