“Fox and Friends” guest host Pete Hegseth last week made an impromptu effort to throw a lumberjack axe on live television. But instead of hitting its target, the axe struck West Point Hellcats drummer Jeff Prosperie.
The June 14 broadcast shows Hegseth, an Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran, gripping the axe overhead with both hands, then throwing it at a target. As Hegseth cringed, the broadside of the axe slammed into Prosperie’s outer elbow.
In a Facebook post, Prosperie described it as a “significant impact.” Recounting the incident, Prosperie wrote, “I was hit by an axe while performing a drum solo live on National TV.....words I never imagined saying! This happened last Sunday and I have been reluctant to post but starting to receive inquiries from concerned family and friends. I am thankful to God that the double sided blade only hit broadside on the outer elbow with significant impact and a couple of cuts as it fell along my wrist. It could have been much worse or fatal. Focusing on full physical and emotional recovery.”
In an additional Facebook post, Prosperie said the axe-tosser neglected to observe normal safety protocols. “Poor decision, obvious negligence, should not have happened, could have been avoided,” Prosperie wrote. “When shooting or throwing, always know what is behind your target. Basic safety rule. I’m feeling blessed on Father’s day with my 5 children, alive, and with all limbs.”
Manuals on hatchet throwing suggest Hegseth’s throwing technique was flawed. A guide from the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), which describes itself as “an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts, skills, and traditions of pre-17th-century Europe,” describes proper throwing technique, suggesting that beginners use one hand rather than Hegseth’s two-handed grip.
“The easiest anchor point to assume for any weapon is to put the base of the gripped end at the lower edge of the little finger or palm of the throwing hand,” the manual says. “This gives a solid, easily repeatable grip and eliminates the possibility of the protruding handle interfering with a clean release.”
The manual also states that beginners should transfer some weight to their leading foot, but not all of it. “Although some very good throwers do it, a pronounced lean into the target is hard to do consistently without a lot of practice,” the guide explains.
In facilitating his double-handed, overhead throw, Hegseth appears to put all of his weight on his leading foot.
Hegseth served in the Army from 2003-2014, retiring as an Army Major. He currently serves as CEO of Concerned Veterans for America, and appears on Fox regularly to provide analysis on foreign affairs and military issues. He ran for the Minnesota Senate in 2012, but fell short during the Republican nominating process.