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After a serious car accident: sports doctor explains Tiger Woods' injuries

Golf icon Tiger Woods had a serious car accident on Tuesday. A sports doctor explains t-online the injuries - and whether Woods can make it back on the field.

Tiger Woods has won 15 major tournaments in his career and is one of the best golfers in history. But the sports world is currently worried about the athlete who crashed in his car in California on Tuesday. Woods had to be rescued from the wreckage of his SUV and was operated on immediately in the hospital. The diagnosis came from his management in a message via Twitter.

"Open debris fractures that affected the upper and lower parts of the tibia and fibula were stabilized by a rod in the tibia," said doctor Anish Mahajan. Further bone injuries in the foot and ankle were stabilized with a combination of screws and pins.

But what does that mean exactly and is it even possible for Woods to continue his career? t-online worked with the sports medicine specialist Univ.-Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Bloch from the Sport University Cologne.

Dr. Wilhelm Bloch: The sports medicine specialist works at the German Sport University in Cologne. (Source: German Sport University Cologne)

"May result in features not coming back"

Bloch explains the injury to the golf icon as follows: "Basically, he has an open fracture in both bones of the lower leg. This means that the bone has been pushed outwards through the muscles." The message from the management also states that Woods received a stick through his shin for stabilization.

The stick - a so-called "intramedullary nail" - does not in itself represent an obstacle for the sports doctor. Bloch: "This is usually only removed after twelve to 18 months. The bone will heal again. However, one does not know how many muscles and blood vessels have been damaged." However, this is a crucial factor. "If nerves or vessels have been damaged, it can also lead to protracted problems and lead to certain functions no longer coming back."

"Will take a long time before he can start playing"

So is it possible that Woods will never be able to play golf again? Not necessarily. "The fact that he had an operation right after his accident and that he had an open fracture sounds more complex and a lot more trauma. Golf is not necessarily the sport where you have to be as fast as possible and you can play with certain restrictions. It will certainly be a long time before he can start playing again. It is not to be expected that he will play properly again before next year, "said Bloch about the severity of Woods' injuries.


Hermann Maier: The Austrian received the Laureus Award in 2004 for the comeback of the year. (Source: Action Pictures / imago images)

The sports physician also makes a comparison with the ski racer Herrmann Maier who had an accident in 2001. Maier had also suffered a lower leg fracture in a motorcycle accident.

He was even talking about a leg amputation, but in 2004 he made his comeback. So Bloch says: "The will to come back has to be there. But I have confidence in an athlete like Tiger Woods. He just needs time. You have to see how the level of performance will ultimately be."