Sunday, June 14, 2009
Green to lose lower leg after car wreck
JACKSON, Miss. -- Champions Tour golfer Ken Green, who was injured in a recreational vehicle crash in Mississippi that killed his brother and girlfriend, will have his lower right leg amputated, his agent said Sunday.
Kevin Richardson said Green is struggling with the "double whammy" of the deaths and his own career-threatening injuries.
"Initially they were hoping to save the leg, but as the days went on it became apparent there was too much structural damage," Richardson said in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
Richardson said doctors will remove his leg below the knee Monday after determining it would take two years of surgery to repair a limb that wouldn't function well before Green could walk again. He also will need a surgery to repair damage to a suborbital bone in his face. The 50-year-old also has a cut about 6 inches long on the left side of his head "that's troublesome."
Green, his brother, William Y. Green, of Indiantown, Fla., and his girlfriend, Jean Marie Hodgin, of Greensboro, N.C., were traveling east in a recreational vehicle on Interstate 20 last Monday from Austin, Texas, where Green played in a tournament last weekend, when a tire blew out near Hickory, Miss. The RV went off the road, down an embankment and into a large oak tree, destroying the front of the vehicle.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol said Ken Green was driving, but Richardson said Green remembers being in the back of the RV when the tire blew out.
"He was in the back and he heard a noise and felt something," Richardson said. "He got up and was in the process of walking forward, and that's all he remembers."
Green's dog, a German shepherd named Nip, also died. Richardson said the loss of those closest to him and the nature of his injuries has been difficult for Green.
"It's a double whammy if there ever was one," Richardson said.
Green was a five-time winner on the PGA Tour with $3.7 million in career winnings and 44 top 10 finishes when mental problems left him helpless on the golf course. He has talked openly of critical children's voices in his head that scuttled his concentration and left him contemplating suicide as he struggled to stay on the tour.
He joined the Champions Tour for players 50 and older last year and has played well. He's 54th on the money list with $123,906 in 11 appearances this year.
Green is using a goal to return to competitive golf with the help of a prosthetic limb to get through the ordeal, Richardson said.
"That is his primary, if not his single goal right now -- to get back out and play golf, and God willing at a competitive level," Richardson said. "He would be the first."