Tennis sensation Serena Williams underwent “emergency treatment” immediately after doctors discovered a blood clot in her lungs on a follow-up visit to treat a lingering foot injury.
Williams’ spokeswoman Nicole Chabot told People magazine that Williams “underwent emergency treatment for a hematoma suffered as a result of treatment for a more critical situation.”
Williams is just 29 years old and is in peak physical condition so how did this happen?
It started with an innocent accident.
While at a restaurant back in the summer, she cut her foot on broken glass and has had complications that affected the healing ever since. It also caused her to suspend playing in several games. She had an initial surgery shortly after the accident and another one in September. In between surgeries, she started to return to practice but has yet to play another game since the ongoing medical setbacks.
What’s scary is that doctors only found the embolism during a routine appointment to monitor the ongoing issues with her foot.
The NY Daily News reports that despite speculation that she had surgery, that was not the case:
Although some media outlets reported that Williams underwent surgery, that was not confirmed Wednesday by anybody close to the athlete. Embolisms are most often treated with blood thinners, avoiding surgery.
A pulmonary embolism can quickly lead to death if not discovered. It occurs when a blood clot travels to the lungs from another part of the body — most commonly, the legs. People at risk for them are those who recently had surgery or have encountered long plane or car rides where the legs were stationary for long periods of time. They are said to be very painful and symptoms include coughing and chest pain.
Follow-up care after all surgeries and accidents is crucial. We are just now getting close to the Little League season where kids can suffer freak accidents during games and practice. Last year my son’s team was on the fence about the kids wearing chest protectors since it wasn’t mandatory. Some moms purchased them and some didn’t. Nearly every kid on the team got hit by the ball at one time or another.
It’s so much better to be safe than sorry when dealing with medical situations. You wouldn’t normally think that a top athlete would suffer a blood clot in the lungs or that that it would stem from a simple accident like stepping on glass.
Serena is currently recovering at a Los Angeles hospital and is being closely monitored.