Tiger Woods underwent emergency surgery Tuesday to repair significant damage to his right leg and ankle following a single-car accident yesterday in a Los Angeles suburb. Woods suffered multiple open fractures to his lower right leg, and he had a rod placed in his tibia and screws and pins inserted in his foot and ankle during the surgery.
At 9:30 pm PT, Woods’ official twitter account posted a message that read, “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.”
The post quotes Dr. Anish Mahajan, MD, the Chief Medical Officer & Interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center: “Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopaedic 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 muscles to relieve pressure due to swelling.”
The post continued, “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 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.”
A comminuted fracture refers to when a bone shatters into more than two pieces that don’t stay in place, per NYU’s Langone Hospital. An open fracture is when there is a break in the skin, according to Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
The update on his condition came nearly 15 hours after Woods was extricated from his heavily damaged SUV following the one-vehicle crash which took place about 30 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
In a news conference at 3 pm PT on Tuesday, Alex Villanueva of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Woods was conscious and able to communicate with officials who arrived on the scene at approximately 7:18 a.m. PT in Rancho Palos Verdes, after they received a 911 call from a neighbor near the crash.
ESPN reports that authorities said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. and that they checked for odor of alcohol or other signs that he was under the influence of a substance; they did not find any such signs.
The two-lane road where the accident occurred is curvy, and descends steeply enough that signs warn trucks to use lower gears. The speed limit is 45 mph. During the press conference, Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who first arrived on the scene, said that crashes are common in that area. Authorities did not say how fast Woods was driving, but they mentioned that he was wearing a seat belt.