University of Georgia athlete Elija Godwin miraculously survived being impaled by a javelin during practice Tuesday. The javelin reportedly punctured the freshman sprinter's left lung.
Godwin and other sprinters were running backward springs at UGA's track when he backed into a javelin implanted in the ground, reports the Associated Press. The rear part of the spear pierced his back, puncturing and collapsing his left lung.
A rescue team cut off part of the javelin at the track. Godwin was then rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, where the rest of the javelin was removed. He was still in the hospital in stable condition Wednesday. Although he survived, he will have to miss the rest of the track season.
“It was truly an accident,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told the Associated Press. “Nobody threw anything or anything like that.”
"All is good. He will be having a quick recovery. He was injured yesterday as he backed up on a javelin," UGA men’s track coach Petros Kyprianou added, reports Dawg Nation.
According to the police report, Godwin "was engaged in a drill which required him to run backwards" at the time of the accident. The javelin was stuck in the ground "at an angle" and the Covington, Georgia native backed into it. The injury left "a large amount of blood in the grass" and Godwin "spitting blood from his mouth."
“(Godwin) was injured when he backed into a stationary javelin that was resting implanted in the ground. He was transported to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. He underwent surgery and is in stable condition," UGA said in a statement.
“We would like to express appreciation for all those who acted so quickly and efficiently in coming to the aid of Elija,” UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson added. “Special thanks to our sports medicine staff, UGA Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Fire-Rescue, National EMS and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.”
After the accident, Godwin told Dawg Nation he "never really felt pain."
“My initial thought was, ‘ah, man, that got me, I shouldn’t have been late to practice,’ stuff like that," he said Thursday. "But then I knew it was bad because of the blood I was spitting out of my mouth. That’s when I realized the seriousness of the situation.”
Godwin said he is in good spirits and feels blessed.
“I don’t want sympathy or anybody to feel bad or anything like that,” the athlete said. “I want people to know I’m better and I’m going to be OK.”
The sprinter said he is trying to look on the bright side of the situation, noting that at least it did not go through his heart.
“For it to happen, it happened in the best way possible, you know?” he told Dawg Nation. “I heard it was close to my heart; I heard it was close to a main artery. But it didn’t hit it. So, it’s like a testimony for me now. If somebody asks, I won’t have a problem talking about it. I’m just glad I’m able to.”
Photo credit: YouTube/MileSplit