Scott Friedman, NBC 5 News
NBC 5 EXCLUSIVE: Severin Sampson says snow and ice that fell from Cowboys Stadium during Super Bowl XLVI week in February 2011 left him with lingering health issues but didn't ruin his love of football.
The ice and snowstorm that crippled North Texas the week of Super Bowl XLV may be a distant memory for some, but it changed one man's life forever.
Severin Sampson was badly injured when ice and snow fell 200 feet off the roof of Cowboys Stadium and crashed down on him Feb. 4, 2011.
In an exclusive interview with NBC 5, Sampson said he saw "a big giant boulder and a big sheet of ice behind the boulder" when he looked up.
"I mean, the whole roof was coming down on me," he said.
Sampson said one of the chunks of ice was the size of a small car. It came down so fast, he couldn't get out of the way. All he could do was try to shield himself from the ice.
The weight of the ice fractured his skull, ruptured his eardrum and left him with a brain injury.
Sampson said he has spent the last year trying to put his life back together.
"And thank God I didn't die," he said. "It was a touchy thing. I mean, who wouldn't have expected to have died in that situation?"
Sampson's injuries put an end to his 20-year career as a stagehand and sound technician. He was at the stadium in Arlington to help with the halftime show.
"I figure, if you get mad at God, you've already lost at the game of life," he said.
Sampson said he he still struggles with emotional changes brought on by the head injury. He also complains of constant ringing in his ear and wears a hearing aid.
Now, he deals cards at charity poker fundraisers.
He still wears a Super Bowl pin and said he'll be watching Super Bowl XLVI on TV.
"Football's football," he said. "Everybody loves football."
Sampson has filed a lawsuit against the National Football League and the Dallas Cowboys. His lawyers claim league and stadium personnel did not do enough to keep workers away from the threat of falling ice.
The NFL did not respond to NBC 5's request for comment. A spokesman for the Dallas Cowboys said the team did not want to comment.