Tiger Woods' path to recovery from his accident on Tuesday in the Los Angeles area will be a long one, doctors say. The pro golfer, 45, was involved in a one-car crash in Rancho Palos Verdes, California just after 7 a.m. PT, crossing a median and veering across two lanes of road before it hit a curb. Woods' SUV stopped after it hit a tree and landed on its side. His leg injuries required a rod, screws, pins, and a surgical release of the muscle covering, reports CNN.
"He is still in that acute phase where they may still have a lot of work to do in the present, in moments, in days to come," Dr. Jeremy Faust, emergency physician Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, told CNN Wednesday. "It's unclear to me whether he will be going back to the operating room or not." Dr. Kirk Campbell, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health, told Yahoo! Sports the 15-time major golf champion has a "very, very, very long road to recovery ahead" and it would be "very challenging" for him to return to golf.
Dr. Brian Polsky, an orthopedic surgeon at the Centers for Advanced Orthopedics in Washington, D.C., made it very clear that the fact Woods, 45, is even alive is good. "Any time there is a rollover accident where the car gets off four wheels, you can die," Polsky told Yahoo! Sports. "The trauma involved in that is very unpredictable, even with seatbelts and airbags. From that standpoint alone, he’s fortunate.”
On Tuesday night, Dr. Anish Mahajan, CMO and interim CEO at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said Woods suffered "significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity." Based on that statement, doctors who spoke with Yahoo! Sports believe that Woods will have to spend several days in the hospital after any of the procedures to help him, and it could be even longer, depending on how Woods responds to the initial treatment. Even after leaving the hospital, the long rehab process will begin. Woods has experience with rehab after injuries, as he had his fifth back surgery just before Christmas.
“Unfortunately, it’s very possible that he may not physically be back to 100 percent, ever,” Polsky explained. “But the person you’re dealing with, someone of that athletic level, that amount of mental strength, that focus he has, definitely adds to the potential of him returning.”
Authorities believe Woods' crash was an accident, but they are still investigating. Woods reportedly told investigators he did not remember the crash. Woods was driving a 2021 Hyundai Genesis SUV, which may have a "black box" to tell investigators what happened, reports the Associated Press. The recorder could tell investigators what the vehicle's speed was at the moment of the crash, and if either the brake or gas pedals were pushed.