Tiger Woods announced today that he has undergone successful back surgery and expects to be back playing golf this summer. Good for him. This is bad news for golf fans who passionately root for or against Tiger. But it is also bad for personal injury victims who are bringing a back injury claim in front of a jury. Why? Because juries get constant evidence from athletes that back injuries and back surgery is not a big deal. Some will equate Tiger Woods to 58 year-old Mary Smith when she has a discectomy and fusion for a herniated disc after a car accident.
Why Tiger’s Surgery and Expected Recovery Misleads Juries
There are a number of reasons why the comparison is unfair. First, not all back injuries are created the same. Tiger had a microdiscectomy for a pinched nerve. That is light years from, say, a herniated disc suffered by great trauma. But some jurors view back surgery as back surgery regardless of the severity of the injury. Second, Tiger is a professional athlete who dedicates his life to keeping his body in the best possible shape. Tiger won’t even share his workout secrets. He will also get stunning medical care. The best doctors and ridiculous amounts of medical attention you and I would never see. Finally, Tiger’s getting surgery in the first place is probably something you and I never would have gotten in the first place. Why? First, we are not violently swinging a golf club at pretty much the speed of light. So I can probably still workout and work around the same injury that Tiger needs to get taken care of so he can perform on a world class level. Continue reading →