Lucky to be alive, Woods faces difficult recovery

Los Angeles: In a career filled with remarkable comebacks, Tiger Woods faces perhaps his toughest recovery of all.

Woods was driving alone through a sweeping, downhill stretch of road through coastal suburbs of Los Angeles when his SUV struck a sign, crossed over a raised median and two oncoming lanes flipped several times before coming to rest on its side. Its airbags deployed.

A sheriff’s deputy poked his head through a hole in the windshield to see Woods, still wearing his seatbelt, sitting in the driver’s seat.

The crash caused significant injuries to his right leg and he underwent what was described as a long surgical procedure at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Anish Mahajan, the chief medical officer, said Woods shattered tibia and fibula bones in multiple locations. He suffered open fractures, meaning the skin was broken.

The bones were stabilized by a rod in the tibia. He said a combination of screws and pins were used for injuries in the ankle and foot.

A statement on his Twitter account said he was awake, responsive and recovering.

I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive, said Carlos Gonzalez, the deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff”s Department who was the first on the scene after a neighbor called 911.

No charges were filed, and police said there was no evidence he was impaired.

The golf world was stunned by the news.

As if his body hasn’t endured enough, Jon Rahm, the No. 2 player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Florida.

I just hope he can get out of the hospital after recovery and he can still play with his kids and have a normal life.

Dr. Joseph Patterson, an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, said injuries like those sustained by Woods are among the most common seen in hospital emergency rooms.

Patterson didn’t treat Woods and wouldn’t comment specifically about the golfer’s injuries but said the risk of infection is extremely high for patients with open fractures.

Tissue can be exposed to bacteria, dirt and clothing. The outcomes can be a lot worse if that tissue gets infected, Patterson said. Open fractures can require multiple surgeries to repair.

Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith suffered an open fracture to his lower leg while being tackled. He nearly lost the leg due to infection but made a remarkable recovery and played last season.