High school volleyball referee hit by ball gets sent to hospital for days
ANDOVER, Kan. (KAKE) - A high school volleyball referee gets hit in the head with a ball from another court sending her to the hospital.
That referee is still recovering in the hospital Friday after the Tuesday night incident and spoke with KAKE News over the phone from her hospital room.
Diane Smith was refereeing a JV game Tuesday night at Andover Central and when she was about to make a call, a volleyball hit her in the back of the head.
“I was just watching my match and getting ready to make a call and then boom, it hit me. And it did kind of get like the edge of my glasses and they kind of went flying in and I was just like, whoa, where did that come from,” explained Smith. “My head was just ringing I don't think I've ever been hit that hard with a volleyball before. If you look at the video, they set it up on the one side, it goes to the other side. It goes up high. And then the next girl hit it directly into my head."
Immediately all the players went to check on her or took a knee. She said she felt dizzy, and one side of her face started drooping.
“I've had several scans and stuff and everything's come back fine. And they think what happened was in trauma to a nerve that called like, caused like a palsy and the nerve that goes to my left eye,” said Smith.
This isn't the first time Smith has been hit by a ball. She umpired a softball game in 2022 where she suffered a concussion from being hit in the head with a softball but was back umpiring this past softball season.
“Anytime an official goes out on the field or court or whatever sport it is, we you know, we have some risks,” said Smith.
Diane is expected to leave the hospital Friday. However, she will be out from refereeing volleyball for the rest of the season. She did say she'd felt like she could be back at it next week if she were allowed.