Golf star Tiger Woods is recovering in a California hospital following a serious crash in his SUV Tuesday. Woods suffered multiple open fractures to his legs leading to a long surgical procedure.
“The tibia and the fibula are the two primary bones in your lower leg so between your knee and your ankle,” said Dr. Matthew Prohaska, an orthopedic surgeon at NVRH in St. Johnsbury. “In this particular injury, he obviously had a crushing like mechanism by all reports where the bones break because something pushes on them very hard.”
Dr. Prohaska says a big concern for injuries like Woods’s is they’re high risk for infections. Both doctors I spoke with pointed to quarterback Alex Smith who suffered a very similar injury in 2018.
“I think he had 16 surgeries from injections and stuff,” Prohaska said. “He actually went back and played, but its a very serious injury.”
One Doctor Jesse Hahn has seen quite often in the OR at UVM Medical Center. He, too is a surgeon specializing in orthopedics.
“With car accidents, especially in the winter time, snow mobile accidents,” he said. “Sometimes as simple as a slip and fall, or actions on the slopes in icy days.”
Both surgeons stress that recovery from something like this will be a long haul. They say Woods could face multiple surgeries down the road and will have to start with re-learning the basics before even thinking about golf.
“The rehab really is where the rubber meets the road,” said Dr. Hahn. “There’s a lot of work much you have to do just to get strong again regain your balance, much less return to a high level of sport.”
“We all hope he does,” said Dr. Prohaska. “If anyone could do it, he probably could if he has the desire and drive to. But it’s hard, it’s going to take a lot of work and a lot of energy. To get back to where he was is going to be challenging.”