The start of any new sporting season is prime time for making jokes, but a saddening story has emerged about a Cleveland Browns fan, whose fall off a truck during their season opener went viral.
A video of Browns fan Andy Shepherd, who could be seen falling off a parked truck in the background of a news report about Cleveland’s blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, went viral in the wake of the game.
With the Browns having endured several dismal seasons in a row, fans had been excited for the 2019/20 campaign after blockbuster moves for the likes of Odell Beckham Jr and the return of star quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Many mocked fans for getting their hopes up, with Mr Shepherd’s fall a punchline for many.
Unfortunately, the video in question wasn’t the harmless fun it appeared to be, with Mr Shepherd having only fallen from the truck due to an epileptic fit, according to his son Ashton.
Writing on a GoFundMe page to raise money for medical expenses, 17-year-old Ashton Shepherd said his father had suffered a broken shoulder, several broken ribs and a fractured skull, the latter of which had also caused a blood clot.
“(My dad) has been a diehard fan ever since he was born and has had season tickets since 2013, and he was very excited and got on top of their van to take pictures,” Ashton wrote.
“As he was taking pictures he had a seizure.
“He’s been epileptic since he was around 18, but at this point he had been seizure free for 10 months and on medication.
“He fell off and it caused a break in his shoulder, six ribs are broken and a fractured skull with a blood clot formed.
“Unfortunately it was caught on live TV and the jokes and assumptions have made almost everything worse.
Did a browns fan just try to end it all on live TV? It’s week 1 buddy - relax pic.twitter.com/x32ftl3Vs3— big rig zach (@OpinionatedZach) September 8, 2019
“My dad is Andy Shepherd, he is 40 years old and has been my best friend since I was born.
“He’s always been there for me so I wanna be there for him and raise money for his surgeries he has to have.”
In good news for the family amid a difficult time, the GoFundMe has, at the time of writing, raised nearly $12,000 of its $15,000 goal.