On Tuesday, we reported that golf legend Tiger Woods suffered serious injuries in a gruesome, single-car accident in which his car flipped over several times. And now, after his team released a statement late Tuesday night, the full extent of those injuries has been revealed.
“We thank everyone for the overwhelming support and messages during this tough time.
As previously communicated, Tiger was involved in a single-car accident earlier this morning in California. He has undergone a long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital.”
“Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by Orthopaedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center. Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia. Additional injuries to the bones of the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins. Trauma to the muscle and soft-tissue of the leg required surgical release of the covering of the muscle to relieve pressure due to swelling.” - Anish Majajan, MD, Chief Medical Officer & Interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
“He is currently awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room. Thank you to the wonderful doctors and hospital staff at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the Fire Department. Your support and assistance has been outstanding.
“There are no further updates at this time and we continue to thank you for your well-wishes and privacy for him and his family.”
Throughout the course of his career, the 15-time major champion has undergone a myriad of surgeries in order to address his lengthy injury history. Prior to Tuesday’s accident, he was actually recovering from his fifth back surgery that he underwent in December. So with his prior injury history compounded by the leg fractures and shattered ankle that he suffered on Tuesday, there are questions about his mobility moving forward.
On The Today Show, NBC News senior medical correspondent Dr. John Torres addressed these concerns and revealed that Woods was at risk for amputation.
“When it comes to emergencies with leg injuries [...] what happens is pressure starts building up because of swelling in that part of the leg and it builds up to such a high point that it cuts off circulation and causes nerve damage if it’s not taken care of quickly,” he explained. “The big concern was amputation. Because if he doesn’t get that [pressure released] quickly—and by quickly I mean within an hour or so—he could be looking at an amputation of that leg.”
As far as Woods’ rehab and recovery process, Torres said it won’t be easy.
“He has six weeks of recovery just from the fractures,” he said. “But if you look at the fractures, he has multiple fractures to the leg. He also has fractures to the foot and ankle. Depending on what they had to do to the ankle, that’s going to be the hard recovery period. So he’s going to get the usual recovery from a fracture: muscle atrophy, having to go back and learn how to walk again to make sure he builds up that muscle. That’s going to take a few months. But if he has to get that ankle fused, or has any big procedures to that ankle, they’re going to limit mobility and take longer to recover. And he truly might never get that mobility back that he had before which can definitely impact the way he plays.”
We’ll keep you updated on this story as needed, but in the interim, keep Tiger in your thoughts and prayers. Thankfully, he’s still with us as this could’ve all played out far worse.