ATHENS — Whenever someone hears the words “pierced” and “javelin,” they’re left to expect the worst. However, a UGA track and field athlete who recently suffered that fate is OK now and expected to make a full recovery.
Elija Godwin, a freshman sprinter for the Bulldogs, was seriously injured when he fell into a javelin during practice on Tuesday afternoon. Godwin suffered a puncture wound “5 to 6 inches deep” and collapsed left lung and needed surgery to remove the javelin, according to a police report.
“It was truly an accident,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “Nobody threw anything or anything like that.”
Said UGA men’s track coach Petros Kyprianou: “All is good. He will be having a quick recovery. He was injured yesterday as he backed up on a javelin.”
The injury was caused when Godwin backed into the javelin on the infield as he “was engaged in a drill which required him to run backwards,” according to police who responded to the scene. The javelin had been “left on the ground at an angle” and Godwin was moving he backed into it. It was actually the rear part of the javelin that caused the injury, which resulted in “a large amount of blood in the grass” and Godwin “spitting blood from his mouth.”
Godwin, who is from Covington, Ga., suffered a puncture wound to the middle of his back and just below the shoulder blade, according to a UGA police report. Part of the javelin remained lodged in Godwin’s body after fire and rescue “ground off” the rest of it. Godwin was taken by ambulance to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital where the remaining javelin was removed by doctors.
UGA released a statement Wednesday afternoon: “(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 Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson said a full recovery is expected. He also wanted to thank first responders and the doctors who attended to Godwin.
“We would like to express appreciation for all those who acted so quickly and efficiently in coming to the aid of Elija,” Courson said. “Special thanks to our sports medicine staff, UGA Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Fire-Rescue, National EMS and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.”