Soccer: Wambach to miss Olympics with broken leg
SAN DIEGO ó U.S. soccer star Abby Wambach had surgery Thursday to repair a broken left leg that will keep her out of the Olympics.
The team’s leading scorer had a titanium rod inserted in her lower left leg during a one-hour operation performed by Dr. Damion Valletta, an orthopedic surgeon for U.S. Soccer. She was resting comfortably and can begin full weight-bearing activities on the leg in five to six weeks.
“Everything went according to plan, there were no complications and small incisions were used to minimize the soft tissue irritability from the surgery,” Valletta said. “We’ll have her stay in the hospital until tomorrow, monitor the pain and control the swelling in her leg. We anticipate that she will be discharged tomorrow on crutches and will start being able to put a small amount of weight on the leg.”
Wambach, 28, broke her tibia and fibula in the team’s final tuneup Wednesday night against Brazil in San Diego, and is expected to be sidelined about 12 weeks. The Americans begin defense of the gold medal on Aug. 6 against Norway.
“I’m excited to watch them and cheer them on during this challenge they’ve been presented with,” Wambach said after the game. “It’s really going to take everyone coming together. I love them all so much, and appreciate so many people involved with this game and the team.
“I put my heart and soul into this game every day, but sometimes accidents happen. I’ve gotten so many calls already, and I just want to say how much I appreciate that.”
Wambach collided with Brazilian defender Andreia Rosa in the first half of a scoreless game. Both players tumbled and Wambach immediately signaled to the sideline for help. Her leg was put in an inflatable brace and she was carted off the field.
“She’s sustained a very significant injury to her bone,” said Dr. Valletta. “It can sometimes take a year to return a professional player to her previous level of activity, but the expectation is that we will have an aggressive rehab program and progress her weight-bearing rapidly to minimize her time lost for competition.”
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