Back in December 2011, Spring Dekaney High School was on cloud nine. The Wildcats took down Cibolo Steele, 34-14, in the Texas 5A Division II state championship game and created the memory of a lifetime. Oddly enough, though, what took place after the game will likely be remembered more than what happened on the field that day.
The celebration for the school’s first state title was on. Players were sharing hugs and Spring Dekaney coach Willie Amendola — the father of former New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola — was talking to reporters at midfield at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Then, all of a sudden, a runaway golf cart ruined the moment completely.
The cart came out of nowhere and plowed into a group of people, including head coach Willie Amendola, around the 50-yard line. It created a viral moment, certainly, but also injuries to the people involved and a massive headache for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones.
Runaway Golf Cart at Cowboys Stadium
The unmanned golf cart carrying pylons from the end zone was somehow triggered on the field and went directly towards the media scrum near the Cowboys star logo. What happened next was insane.
At the point of impact, Coach Amendola was sent into the passenger seat. He traveled with the cart for approximately 20 yards before he rolled out of it onto the turf. A stadium worker then hopped into the cart and was able to stop it before it caused any further damage.
“I got hit, I rolled in the back, everybody was falling down, I steered it away from that guy on the [left]. Then when I got in the middle of nowhere, I rolled off of the thing. Just like James Bond,” Amendola said, via Fox Sports.
The incident didn’t just stop there, though.
Runaway Cart Injuries & Lawsuit
When a golf cart strikes a group of people, injuries are bound to happen. According to Fox Sports, multiple people were treated after the incident. Four people were treated at the stadium for minor injuries and one reporter — Jerry Woodley from Houston — was treated for a bruised foot and sprained ankle at a local hospital. He was released the following day.
As for Amendola, well, he took it one step further by suing Cowboys Stadium, L.P. for $1 million-plus for “considerable physical injuries” and “great personal embarrassment and mental anguish.”
Here is the 2013 lawsuit description, as obtained by Deadspin:
“Struck from behind, without warning, Coach Amendola was thrown back into the floorboard of the cart suffering serious bodily injuries. Coach Amendola heroically had the presence of mind to direct the cart, which he briefly controlled, in such a manner that it avoided striking the head or bodies of numerous others who had fallen. He rolled off the cart when he realized he could not bring it safely to a halt, hitting the stadium floor.
“The entire incident was captured by cameras recording the post-game activities on the field. Videos of the incident were distributed by media sources on International, National, State, and Local television and internet news sites, causing Coach Amendola and his wife, great personal embarrassment and mental anguish, in addition to his considerable physical injuries.”Advertisement
The result of the lawsuit is unknown, but the runaway golf cart incident will undoubtedly live on forever.
This post was originally published on March 3, 2020.