UGA sprinter pierced by javelin during track practice

University of Georgia track athlete Elija Godwin. (Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA)

University of Georgia track athlete Elija Godwin. (Kristin M. Bradshaw/UGA)

Elija Godwin, a freshmen sprinter for the Georgia men’s track-and-field team, was seriously injured when a javelin pierced his upper body.

Godwin was sprinting backward during practice Tuesday afternoon when he fell and landed on a javelin, suffering a punctured and collapsed left lung, according to a police report. He is expected to make a full recovery.

“It was truly an accident,” Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity said. “Nobody threw anything or anything like that.”

Said men’s and women’s track-and-field coach Petros Kyprianou: “All is good. He will be having a quick recovery. He was injured yesterday as he backed up on a javelin.”

Godwin, a freshman sprinter from Covington, “suffered a javelin wound to the middle of his back and just below the shoulder blade,” according to a UGA police report.

Part of the javelin remained in Godwin’s body after fire and rescue personnel “grinded off” the rest of it. Godwin was taken by ambulance to Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital, where the rest of the javelin was removed by doctors.

The injury was caused after Godwin ran into the javelin as he and his fellow sprinters did backward sprints on the track, according to police. The javelin had been “left on the ground at an angle” and Godwin was moving fast as he fell into it. The rear part of the javelin caused the injury, which resulted in “a large amount of blood in the grass.”

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. A full recovery is expected, according to UGA Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson.”

Kyprianou said Godwin will not compete the rest of this season, but will be “stronger than ever” for next season.