Deer Crushes NCAA Cross-Country Runner, But Teammates Foil Nature’s Plan


November 17, 2016

Neither Mother Nature, nor one of her hench-deer, could stop Justin DeLuzio from finishing his last cross country race.

DeLuzio, a senior runner on Gwynedd Mercy University’s cross country team, is sore and bruised following a collision with a wild deer last weekend at DeSales University in Lehigh County, Penn., during the NCAA Division III Mideast Regional. It happened just 1.6 kilometers into the 8K race after a small herd of deer entered the course as runners were competing.

A race observer happened to capture the moment the deer struck DeLuzio, sending him head-over-heels into the air before he landed with a thud.

“I turn my head a little bit to the left and he comes right there,” DeLuzio told NBC 10 Philadelphia. “He knocked me down pretty good.

“I was lucky. I was fortunate. I know if that deer was a little bit bigger, I could have been in serious trauma.”

DeLuzio’s teammate, Matt French, helped him to his feet and ran with him for the rest of the race. Gwynedd Mercy’s Armani Rivera also ran alongside DeLuzio and French for part of the race.

French’s and Rivera’s commitment to their injured teammate cost them precious time in the race but impressed both DeLuzio and their coach, Kevin Clark.

“My last country race, his (French’s) last country race and just a demonstration of camaraderie and it’s what this team is all about,” DeLuzio said.

“Justin is doing OK. He’s just a little sore and bruised up,” Clark said in a statement, according to’s Emily Babay. “We were worried about his health for a while, but we’re proud to see him fight through this along with his teammates, get up and finish his last collegiate cross country race.” said it best: Bambi tried out the wrong sport if she idolizes Ray Lewis so much.

Thumbnail photo via YouTube/Dodgers Benny

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