A University of Georgia athlete who was impaled by a javelin during track practice on Tuesday underwent a successful surgical procedure, his family said.
Elija Godwin, a freshman sprinter at the school, was doing a backward sprint drill on the infield at Spec Towns Track when he accidentally backed into a javelin that was sticking out of the ground at an angle, according to WXIA.
The sharp metal piece of equipment pierced through Godwin’s body just below his left shoulder blade, causing him to collapse onto the field.
Georgia coach Donald Babbitt, who was about 30 yards away at the time of the incident, says he saw a group of people kneeling over the athlete, who had blood coming out of his mouth, UGASports.com reports.
Emergency responders called to the scene had to saw part of the javelin off in order to fit Godwin into an ambulance. The victim was rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a collapsed lung.
Fortunately, Godwin’s mother, Ginger Luby, told WXIA her son’s injuries are not life-threatening and that he is now able to breathe unassisted.
UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson said Goodwin is expected to make a full recovery.
“We would like to express appreciation for all those who acted so quickly and efficiently in coming to the aid of Elija,” he added in a statement.