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A 19-year-old university sprinter ran backwards onto a javelin and was sent to hospital with part of it still in his chest

Alan Dawson , Business Insider US
 May 09, 2019, 08:10 PM
BRAGANCA PAULISTA, BRAZIL - APRIL 28: Athletes com
Not the runner in question. (Photo by Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)
  • Georgia sprinter Elija Godwin was taken to hospital when he accidentally impaled himself on a javelin.
  • Godwin sustained the injury on Tuesday at a University of Georgia track session.
  • He backed onto a stationary javelin during a backward sprinting drill, which pierced his body and punctured his lung.
  • Rescue workers sawed the javelin off, loaded Godwin into an ambulance, and took him to Athens Regional Medical Centre with part of the javelin still in his body.
  • He survived, is expected to make a full recovery, and could return to practice for the 2020 season.
  • For more, go to Business Insider SA.


A 19-year-old American sprinter accidentally impaled himself on a javelin and was sent to hospital with it sticking out of his chest.

Georgia athlete Elija Godwin was at the University of Georgia track for a practice session on Tuesday when he accidentally backed into a stationary javelin that was stuck in the ground, a university statement read.

According to Deadspin, Godwin was taking part in a backwards sprinting drill at the time.

The Atlanta news station 11Alive reports that the javelin went through his back, puncturing his lung. His athletics team-mates rushed to help him, 11Alive says, the javelin was sawn off by rescue workers, and he was loaded into an ambulance with part of it still inside his body.

Godwin was then taken to hospital and underwent surgery at Athens Regional Medical Center, Fox News reported.

By Wednesday, he was in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery.

In the university statement, Ron Courson, the director of sports medicine for University of Georgia, said: "We would like to express appreciation for all those who acted so quickly and efficiently in coming to the aid of Elija."

He added: "Special thanks to our sports medicine staff, police, fire-rescue, and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center."

Godwin's personal best records in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints are 10.47 seconds and 20.59 seconds, respectively. He will miss the rest of the 2019 season, Fox says, but could return in 2020.

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