Georgia athlete falls onto javelin, has surgery

University of Georgia freshman sprinter Elija Godwin had surgery and is expected to make a full recovery after he fell backward onto a javelin during practice, the school announced Wednesday.

According to a police report obtained by, Godwin suffered a punctured and collapsed left lung Tuesday when he fell onto the javelin, which already was planted into the ground at the UGA track.

“It was truly an accident,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told “Nobody threw anything or anything like that.”

According to the police report, the javelin impaled Godwin just below his shoulder blade and rescue workers “grinded off” the javelin. The piece that pierced Godwin’s back had to be surgically removed.

The university said Godwin was transported to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, where he had the procedure and is in stable condition.

“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 said in a statement released by the university on Wednesday. “Special thanks to our sports medicine staff, UGA Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Fire-Rescue, National EMS, and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.”

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