The man crash-landed during a pregame ceremony involving three parachutists before the 7 p.m. kickoff of a football game at David Crockett High School in the eastern Tennessee town of Jonesborough, Jerry Boyd, Superintendent of Washington County Schools,
The skydiver was airlifted to the hospital by helicopter, Boyd said.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the injured skydiver that has passed away,” he said in a statement. “We ask that everyone keep the family in their thoughts and prayers as they deal with the loss of a beloved husband, father, and grandfather.”
Authorities did not immediately release any additional details about the skydiver, who Boyd said was hired from the company JumpTN in Greeneville.
JumpTN belongs to the U.S. Parachute Association, according to Boyd and the organization’s website.
The skydiver was 55 years old and had “more than 1500 jumps to his credit,” JumpTN said in a statement to USA TODAY. The company said site observers and witnesses did not notice anything unusual about the free fall or the parachute, which was deployed “without incident.”
“The deceased was a highly experienced jumper with decades of experience to their credit and a well-respected member of the skydiving community,” JumpTN said in the statement. “The entire skydiving community is saddened by the sudden loss of a wonderful member of their community.”
The USPA did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s requests for comment.
After the incident, school and district administrators led the crowd in a moment of silence and decided to continue the game with a delayed start time, Boyd said.
Mental health professionals will be available for students and staff members at all Washington County schools, he added.