Springbok and Stormers flank Pieter-Steph du Toit has opened up about the frightening injury that could have seen him lose his leg.
Du Toit was substituted injured in the second half of the Stormers’ loss to the Blues at Newlands on 29 February.
Team doctor Jason Suter detailed that Du Toit had suffered a haematoma on his left thigh which soon developed into acute compartment syndrome, an incredibly rare case with only 43 recorded in medical literature.
The 209 World Rugby Player of the Year was immediately transported to Vincent Pallotti Hospital where he underwent surgery that night. The surgeon had to cut through Du Toit’s thigh muscle to release some of the pressure
Du Toit told about Rapport rugby writer Hendrik Cronjé the unbeliveable amount of pain that he went through in dealing with the operation.
‘When I got to the hospital, I experienced an incredible amount of pain. I couldn’t bear the pain,’ Du Toit said. ‘They put me on very strong medication, but it did not take away the pain. I just wanted someone to do something for me to take it away.
‘During the operation, he tested some of the muscles’ nerves. It seemed to him then that it was too late, because some of the muscles did not respond to the tests.
‘Then he saw me again on the Monday and tried to close the wound again, but he was unsuccessful. He told me later that he just wanted to see if the muscle would get better. Fortunately, it did.
‘They were not sure if they would be able to close the wound,’ said Du Toit. ‘When they saw it, they told each other they were not going to be able to do it. Only when they started working did they see it was going to be possible. And they worked it out.’
Du Toit is expected to be back on the field in three months’ time. Of course, with the Vodacom Super Rugby season taking an unplanned break due to the Covid-19 coronavirus, that gives him plenty of time to recover properly.
Photo: Ziyaad Douglas/Gallo Images