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Agates soccer players vs. deer

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LaReesa Sandretsky2 / 2

Last week Kaydi Hooey was the victim of a hit and run -- by a deer.

The 13-year-old junior varsity soccer player was running with her team along a trail behind the baseball field at Two Harbors High School when she heard the girls around her start to scream.

"I heard something behind me and I turned around and it hit me," reported Hooey. "I was like, 'Oh my God, did this happen to me?'"

In her mother's words, what happened to her was a deer ran into her "like a football tackle."

"She was hit in the lower back, lifted off her feet, carried a short distance and fell to the ground," Janis Hooey said in an e-mail. "The deer continued into the woods."

Despite the collision, Hooey didn't seem concerned.

"We didn't get the full story the first time she called," said Hooey's mom, Janis. "She said she was fine. It wasn't until I picked her up and she showed me her back that I said, 'No, we're going to have you checked out.'"

The gash on her back wasn't the only damage the deer did.

It turned out that she also had a concussion, some muscle spasms in her back and some minor bumps and bruises, but judging by a Facebook status update she made while in the emergency room, she was still in good spirits.

"I was swept off my feet by a deer, dumped and now am heartbroken," it said.

"She's back in school and just disappointed she can't play soccer," her mother said. Hooey will be benched for a week or so until she gets the all-clear from her doctor.

Friends of Hooey responded to her Facebook post with comments ranging from concern to creative versions of "Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer," her mom said.

"She's had a very good sense of humor about it," Janis said. "On the way to the ER she said, 'This is a story I can tell when I'm in the nursing home!'"

Between now and then, she hopes her story will get to Jay Leno, her mom said.

Hooey is not the first Agate soccer player to have a close encounter of the deer kind.

In fact Hooey's story sounded very familiar to Tyler Carlson, 24, of Duluth. He graduated from Two Harbors High School in 2006, where he also played soccer.

Carlson's team was on a training run on a cross-country ski trail near the high school when he heard rustling in the woods behind him. He suspected it was a teammate who was known for playing practical jokes.

Turning around to confront what he thought was another soccer player, he found himself face-to-face with a deer.

"I think it was just ran me over, knocked me five or six feet into the woods. I was just stunned," he said.

He ended up with a couple of bumps and bruises, but emerged mostly unscathed.

"I didn't even comprehend what happened," he said.

Phillip Lockett, chairman of the Duluth City Bowhunt, said the collisions were probably accidents or miscalculations by the deer.

"Deer do some weird things. They don't always adhere to the things that we think they should do," he said.

He noted that a buck might storm a runner in confusion because of high autumn testosterone levels and a doe might attack someone getting too close to her fawn. He speculated that this wasn't the case for Carlson or Hooey since the deer quickly fled the scene. A doe would probably put up more of a fight if she felt threatened and a buck likely wouldn't approach a group of runners.

"I'd probably chalk it up to mostly coincidence," he said.