Pieter-Steph was at risk of losing his leg, Stormers Doc confirms
CAPE TOWN – It’s hard to imagine Springbok and Stormers star Pieter-Steph du Toit not playing rugby, imagining him losing a leg as a result of it, unthinkable.
But that could have been exactly the case for the reigning World Rugby Player of the Year, who became a medical anomaly when he sustained an injury in the Stormers’ game against the Blues a couple of weeks ago.
While going over their medical report and how they are managing their player personnel during the Covid-19 outbreak, Stormers team doctor Jason Suter confirmed that they will be without a number of their Springboks for the foreseeable future – something the John Dobson’s team will certainly feel should Super Rugby does resume at the end of April.
He explained that scrumhalf sensation Herschel Jantjies, Du Toit, Siya Kolisi, Bongi Mbonambi and Steven Kitshoff are all on the injury list. Kolisi – who is recovering from a knee injury he sustained in their season-opener against the Hurricanes – is expected to be ready for action in four weeks’ time.
Mbonambi, who had to have surgery on a torn hamstring, could be back in June (five months from the date of surgery), while Kitshoff will be out for four months as he’s set to undergo surgery on a torn pectoral muscle suffered against the Sharks.
The Stormers will be without Jantjies for three months due to a fractured fibula, while lock JD Schickerling will be on the casualty list for four weeks with a torn muscle in his arm.
For Du Toit, though, it could have been much, much worse.
The blindside flanker left the field against the Blues before the Stormers’ bye, and it turned out that he was dealing with much more than just a hematoma to his thigh.
“It was a medical emergency. He had a hematoma that developed into acute compartment syndrome. They’re incredibly rare cases. Only 43 have been recorded in the medical literature,” Suter said.
“It’s a medical emergency, because if you don’t pick it up early and treat it, the patient will lose blood supply to their leg and could lose their leg.
“Within 15 minutes of him coming off the field and us assessing him we realised that he was at risk of this condition. He was taken to Vincent Pallotti Hospital immediately where we had a vascular surgeon waiting. He was operated on that night.
“They had to cut through the muscle to release the pressure. They were only able to close that 10 days after his initial injury.”
Du Toit is expected to be back in three months’ time, and Dobson credited Suter - who went on to explain that the Stormers’ injury curse isn’t down to conditioning - for his speedy assessment.
“Doc deserves a lot of credit. It would have been devastating for Pieter-Steph and the game as a whole for a player to lose his leg.”