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Viral BYU Pole Vaulter Speaks On Accident: ‘It Was A Quick Burst Of Pain’

Photo Courtesy of @Zach_McWhorter TikTok

PROVO, Utah – By now you’ve probably seen the viral TikTok video of BYU freshman Pole Vaulter Zach McWhorter impaling himself while practicing the sport he loves. But, you probably haven’t heard him explain what was running through his mind when it happened.

As always here at KSL Sports, we’ve got you taken care of.

McWhorter hopped on the Cougar Tracks Podcast to discuss the accident and why he posted the video on TikTok.

@zach_mcwhorterThat one time the pole went through my nuts… 18 stitches! #fail #polevault #athletics #trackandfield #ouch♬ Mask Off – 抖音小助手

Zach McWhorter explains what happened in the viral clip

“It was just a normal day at practice and things were going so well,” McWhorter said to KSL Sports. “I made some adjustments. I was holding higher on the pole than I usually do. For those of you that are not familiar with pole vaulting, the pole bends and it gave me a great [reaction]. I cleared the bar and literally for about — it felt like an eternity — a split second I could just see the pole coming [to] my direction and not the direction I wanted it to go. But yeah, it just hit me in the sweet spot and it was a quick burst of pain.”

Has an accident like this ever happened to him before while pole vaulting?

“No. Actually, I’ve been very fortunate. I haven’t had any serious injuries over the course of six years I’ve pole vaulted,” McWhorter said.

McWhorter told Buzzfeed that after the attempted pole vault that went wrong he could “see through his scrotum.” Yikes. Lucky for Zach his father, Rick McWhorter, an assistant coach on BYU’s track and field staff is also a urologist.

“He was the one that filmed the jump,” McWhorter laughed. “I ran on the pits and was rolling around in the grass and he came over, checked it out and we hopped in his car and went over [to the hospital].”

Why post the video on social media?

“It’s funny I promised myself I would never download TikTok but on a Sunday morning my cousin showed me this video on TikTok of a pole vaulter actually, and it had gone viral,” said McWhorter. “I didn’t think it was anything too crazy. So I thought, you know what, I’ll download TikTok and post my video. Added some music to the background, posted it, I had zero followers and just kind of let it be.

“Then the next morning I wake up and apparently it caught on.”

From zero followers on TikTok to now 129,400, McWhorter’s viral TikTok post has 3.7 million likes and has been viewed over 19 million times.

TikTok aside, McWhorter has a bright future ahead of him at BYU

A true freshman pole vaulter from Springdale, Arkansas, McWhorter is currently sixth nationally with a 5.61 mark (18″4.75) in Pole Vault, which is good for second all-time among freshman in BYU history.

Last month McWhorter competed in the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships and is one of the young talented athletes in a talent-rich track & field program down at BYU.


Listen to the full interview with McWhorter on the Cougar Tracks Podcast.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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