The world was stunned this week when golf great Tiger Woods was seriously injured in a single-car crash in California.
Woods suffered several lower extremity injuries, including open fractures, that required surgery.
To find out what the road to recovery may look like for Woods and the effect his injuries may have on his golf career, local media turned to orthopedic trauma and sports medicine experts at University Orthopedics for insight.
University Orthopedics’s Dr. Andrew Evans, who is also an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Rhode Island Hospital, told Channel 10 Woods likely has a long recovery ahead of him.
“These kinds of injuries can potentially be limb-threatening,” Dr. Evans said.
“He required some pins and screws in the foot as well, which leads me to believe he likely had a ligament or bone injury to the midfoot,” said Evans. “Based on what I know about his injuries, it’s almost guaranteed he will require multiple surgeries.”
So, what are the chances Tiger will be able to return to his pro golf career?
University Orthopedics’ Dr. Paul Fadale told Channel 12’s Yianni Kourakis that Woods has a long road before he can even consider picking up a golf club again.
“We’ve got to get the fractures healed and it depends how many fractures and how many screws and plates and rods, etc. So, it’s really a chess game to get everything to heal,” Fadale said. “But, he will start walking again and then there are the gruesome months, maybe years of recovery to retrain all of those muscles to get them strong again. It’s going to be a very long recovery.”
Even though Woods is in his 40s and has already had multiple surgeries, Fadale said he wouldn’t count out a comeback.
“The fire burns hot in these athletes. We don’t even understand how hot the fire burns,” he said. “I don’t know if he’ll be competing for another Masters, but I wouldn’t count him out. However, I do know, it won’t be happening soon.”