Tiger Woods has a long and uncertain road ahead after California accident, says emergency medic

“He is still in that acute phase where they may still have a lot of work to do in the present, in the moments, in the days to come,” Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician, told CNN Wednesday Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. . “It is not clear to me if he will return to the operating room or not.”

The 45-year-old was driving Tuesday in Rancho Palos Verdes, near Los Angeles, shortly after 7 a.m. PT when his SUV crossed a median and swerved through two lanes of highway before hitting a sidewalk, colliding against a tree and landing on its side in brush, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Tuesday.

Woods suffered leg injuries that required a rod, screws, pins and a surgical release of the muscle covering, one that surgeons likely believed would save his leg from amputation, Faust said.

Authorities believe the incident was “purely an accident,” but they will have to remove the event recorder from the vehicle’s black box to make that determination, Villanueva said. When he saw Woods in the hospital Tuesday, the 15-time senior champion told investigators he had no recollection of the accident.

Just a month after the fifth back surgery of his career, the most recent accident threatens to set back his hopes of returning to golf glory.

Tiger Woods of the United States watches after a shot on the second hole during the final round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in 2020.

He has come back before

While his fellow golf professionals have recognized that Woods’ and his family’s health are the most important things to consider at this point, they are not ruling it out either.

He’s done it before, Rory McIlroy said.

Famous from an early age, Woods turned pro in 1996 at just 21 years old, and his talent and charisma made him a global icon. He won 14 major golf tournaments between 1997 and 2008 and seemed set to break the all-time record of 18 set by Jack Nicklaus.

What exactly are Tiger Woods?  injuries?  And what could they mean for your future?
But a series of injuries and personal problems derailed that career path. In 2009, a car accident outside her Florida home sparked tacky revelations about her rampant infidelity and the collapse of her marriage.

After a break from the sport, he returned to golf but without the stifling dominance of his previous years. There was also a growing list of injuries, leading to four back operations, including spinal fusion surgery, as well as the “dark times” when the pain was so intense that you couldn’t even get out of bed or play with your children.

Operations and pain led to an addiction to opioid pain relievers, and he was arrested on a 2017 DUI charge in Florida. He pleaded guilty to reckless driving as part of a program to prevent him from serving time in prison.
That low point made his return to the top of the sport in 2019 even more impressive. At the Masters, he leapt ahead and, followed by a roaring crowd, scored his first major victory since the US Open in 2008 in one of the great comebacks in the history of the sport.

World No. 2 John Rahm said he hoped Woods could play golf and win more tournaments.

And that he could then have a proper retreat, standing on the iconic Swilcan Bridge on Scotland’s St. Andrew Golf Course “and being able to properly say goodbye to the game.”

Earlier this week, Woods said he hoped to compete in this year’s Masters.
A tow truck recovers the vehicle driven by golfer Tiger Woods in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, after a rollover accident.

Safety features and a seat belt saved his life, authorities say

Woods was driving only a courtesy Genesis SUV vehicle and is believed to have been traveling at high speed before the accident, authorities said. There were no skid marks or other indications of braking, Villanueva added.

Villanueva said the section of the road is “downhill on a curve,” and he and González said the area is known as a trouble spot for speeding and accidents. The road has suffered 13 accidents since last January.

Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Carlos Gonzalez, who responded to the crash, found a lucid Woods still attached to his seat belt, but trapped when the truck had overturned on the driver’s side door.

“I think the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt and that the vehicle’s safety features worked as designed by the manufacturer likely resulted in reducing his injury or saving his life,” Gonzalez told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.

In the days before his accident, Tiger Woods had been teaching golf to sports and movie stars.

The car he was driving also featured an entirely new safety platform, an executive at the automaker said in a statement to CNN.

The Genesis GV80’s safety features include a strong focus on “passenger compartment protection / reinforcement areas,” said Dana White, Director of Communications for Genesis Motor North America. “This includes the use of advanced high-strength steel for rigidity and safety.”

The vehicle was equipped with 10 standard airbags, including a “Genesis-exclusive center airbag that deploys between the front seats,” according to White.

Although the exterior of the vehicle was destroyed in the accident, the interior damage was such that Woods was able to survive.

We have seen accidents with much less obvious (damage) than fatalities, “Villanueva told CNN.

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg reported from Los Angeles, Madeline Holcombe wrote from Atlanta. CNN’s Eric Levenson, Omar Jimenez, Stella Chan, Steve Almasy, David Close, Kevin Dotson, Rob Hodgetts, Jill Martin, Dan Moriarty, Andy Rose, and Paul Vercammen contributed to this report.


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