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Elijah Godwin of Georgia crosses the finish line during the men’s 400m event at an invitational at the Speck Towns Track on Apr. 6, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. Godwin placed first overall. (Photo/Julian Alexander)

Elija Godwin, a freshman sprinter on the Georgia track and field team, underwent surgery and is in stable condition after sustaining a serious injury during practice at Spec Towns Track on Tuesday, according to a press release from UGA Sports Communications. 

While running backward sprints, Godwin backed into a stationary javelin that was implanted into the ground, according to a UGA police report. The javelin impaled his back, underneath his left shoulder blade. Georgia track and field associate head coach Don Babbitt told police there was blood coming out of Godwin's mouth. 

The Athens-Clarke County fire department arrived within two minutes and cut part of the javelin off with an angle grinder, according to the police report. Godwin was transported to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center with the rear part of the javelin still lodged in his back. 

Ron Courson, the Director of Sports Medicine with the University of Georgia Athletic Association, said Godwin is expected to make a full recovery.  

“We would like to express appreciation for all those who acted so quickly and efficiently in coming to the aid of Elija,” Courson said.  “Special thanks to our sports medicine staff, UGA Police Department, Athens-Clarke County Fire-Rescue, National EMS, and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.” 

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