On February 23, 2021, golf legend Eldrick Tont ‘Tiger’ Woods was involved in a serious car accident while driving alone on the outskirts of Los Angeles. While there was no evidence that Woods, who received a reckless driving ticket after a minor accident in 2009 and pleaded guilty to driving under the driver’s influence in 2017, was drunk, County Sheriff Alex Villanueva reported that it was appeared to be racing onto the road at the time of the crash.

Around 7 a.m., Woods’ SUV collided with an elevated mean value, crossed two oncoming lanes and hit a tree. The vehicle is believed to have been run over several times before it came to rest on its side. This is known as a rollover accident, which is more likely to result in fatal injury than other types of accidents. The golf mogul’s injuries, while not fatal, were serious: they included open tibial and fibular fractures that were compound (meaning the bones were breaking through the skin) and crushed (meaning the bones were in fragments). Woods is now recovering after an emergency operation that involved rods, pins and screws inserted into his legs.

While this is clearly the good fortune to have escaped death, the consequences of such serious injuries matter to both Woods himself and the golfing world at large. Widely regarded as the greatest golfer of his generation, his dazzling awards include eighty-two PGA Tour wins, five Masters tournament wins (the last of which was in 2019), and a world ranking of six hundred and eighty-three weeks one. Woods, 45, left his professional career indefinitely after undergoing fifth spinal surgery in December 2020, and sports commentators fear the debilitating injuries from his car accident could catalyze his retirement.

However, in a statement posted on Twitter, Woods thanked the medics who looked after him at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and assured fans that he is “recovering at home” and “working to getting stronger every day ‘. So far, he has given no indication that he is considering retirement. One of the more upbeat commentators, former PGA Tour player Bill Mallon, expressed hopes for the star’s return to professional tournaments in an interview with BBC golf correspondent Iain Carter. Mallon stressed that Woods received immediate treatment and did not suffer from an infection. He estimated his fractures could heal in as little as six weeks and expected the star to return to professional golf in a year.

As the world of golf awaits Woods’ recovery and hopefully returns to competition, we hope that both the star and his fans will use this unfortunate event as an opportunity to reflect on the importance of vehicle safety and the uncomfortable fact of injury Even the most promising athletic careers can derail. Still immobile at the moment, let’s hope the golf icon will play around again soon and eventually resume his former skills on the turf.

Photo credit: Keith Allison via Wikimedia Commons