Tiger Woods was unaware of his ‘grave injuries’ in aftermath of collision, police say

Deputy who was first on scene of accident said reaction was ‘not uncommon in traffic collisions’

Louise Hall
Wednesday 24 February 2021 16:53
Tiger Woods didnt realise how hurt he was, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy says
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Tiger Woods was unaware of how severe his injuries were in the immediate aftermath of the serious single-car accident in California which left him with “open fractures” to his legs, police have said.

The Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, who was first on the scene following the brutal crash, has said that the golf star was "lucid and calm” upon discovery.

"When I arrived on the scene, Mr Woods was seated in the driver’s seat,” Mr Carlos Gonzalez said in a press conference.

He added: “I made contact with him, and I ensured that he was able to speak to me. At that time, he seemed as though he was still calm and lucid.”

When asked by reporters if Woods was concerned about his injuries the deputy said that he “did not seem concerned about his injuries at the time.”

The deputy explained that this reaction was “not uncommon in traffic collisions - many times people tend to be in shock.”

“It’s a traumatic experience, so it’s not uncommon for people to be focused on unimportant things, or even if they are in pain they might not feel it until much later,” he said.

In another interview with NBC News, Mr Gonzalez reiterated that Woods appeared to be unaware of “how gravely injured he was,” again citing “adrenaline and shock.”

Woods suffered serious injuries including “open fractures” to his legs in the rollover single-car crash in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

The golfing legend underwent a “long surgical procedure on his lower right leg and ankle after being brought to the hospital”, his team said in a statement on his Twitter following the accident.

Änish Mahajan, the chief medical officer, and interim chief executive officer at Harbor-UCLA medical centre where Woods was transported following the accident, gave an insight into his injuries in the statement.

“Mr Woods suffered significant orthopaedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopaedic trauma specialities,” the statement read.

Mr Gonzalez said in both interviews that Woods could not stand up on his own following the crash, and he explained how he engaged the golfer in conversation until LA County Fire arrived on the scene.

"I asked him what his name was," Mr Gonzalez said in the conference. "He told me his name was Tiger, and that moment I immediately recognised him."

The deputy recalled to NBC News that despite recognising the famous face he “immediately went into assessment questions to gauge what his condition was in and what his mental state was at the time.”

"I kept him talking," he said. "I asked him basic things to gauge his mental state, like do you know where you are right now? Do you know what day it is? You know, just to see if he was aware of what had occurred."

The statement on Twitter on Wednesday said the golfer was “awake, responsive, and recovering in his hospital room” and thanked the hospital staff for their support and assistance.

“He’s going through something very traumatic, and I’m sure he’s going through a lot of pain, so I’m hoping for a speedy recovery for him,” Mr Gonzalez said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a press conference that deputies had found “no evidence of impairment” from drugs or alcohol at the crash site.

The sheriff noted the area has a “high-frequency of accidents” saying they are not uncommon due to the downhill slopes and curves on the road.

Mr Gonzalez said that the seatbelt Woods was wearing may have contributed to saving his life. “It is very fortunate that Mr Woods was able to come out of this alive,” he said.

Additional reporting by agencies

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