• 'I remember it so well': UGA sprinter speaks about moment javelin impaled him

    By: Nicole Carr

    Updated:

    COWETA COUNTY, Ga. - A University of Georgia track athlete is back home recovering after a javelin impaled him during practice earlier this month. 

    Elija Godwin, a freshman sprinter from Newton County, backed into a javelin that was planted in the ground on May 7. 

    "In the very beginning, you don't know whether or not you're going to see the next day. I'm able to tell this story. I remember it so well," Godwin told Channel 2's Nicole Carr. 

    Carr sat down with Godwin for his first TV interview since he returned home from the hospital.

    Doctors had to carefully navigate his body with cameras and spotted a collapsed lung. They had to remove half of the javelin from Godwin’s body.

    “Honestly, I wasn’t thinking, like, whether or not I would run again, whether or not I would be able to play sports again. My main focus was surviving, being prepared for whichever way this may go," Godwin told Carr.


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    Godwin told Carr he didn’t see the javelin in the ground as he ran backward during drills. It wasn’t until he started to cough blood that he realized what had happened.

    "The initial though was, ‘Oh it just poked me.' Then I hit the ground. I feel the weight and I’m like ‘OK, this more serious," Godwin said. "Luckily, I couldn’t reach it because I would have probably tried to take the pole out“

    Godwin credits his coaches, trainer, teammates and doctors, who were all involved from the moment he was taken to the hospital. The runner said he started to have thoughts about if he would make it.

    “Worst-case scenario: Had I died that day, everyone had plans for the next day. That’s what I was thinking about. It just taught me to live in the moment," he said.

    It was an hour-long surgery, a weeklong hospital stay and an experience that has him determined to make a difference in his lifetime.

    “I just thank God for another day. I thank him for like sparing my life,” Godwin said. “I have to find my place in the world. It’s something here for me to do.”

    Godwin said he should be ready for rehab next week with a goal of getting on the indoor track this fall for his sophomore year. 

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