Casey Martin’s worst fear was realized earlier this month when he stepped off a curb and fractured his right tibia.
That’s the leg that has been affected since birth by a debilitating condition called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome that makes walking difficult.
“Pain has been a common theme in my life,” Martin said by phone Tuesday, “but not like this.”
Three weeks ago, Martin, the head coach at Oregon, was bringing in his garbage can when he stepped awkwardly on a road that was under construction. His foot slipped and he landed awkwardly, fracturing his leg.
Martin spent a few days in the hospital and the past few weeks on bed rest at home, unable to complete basic tasks around the house. He’s now in a cast and on crutches, but he’s set to visit the doctor Wednesday to see how his leg is healing. The circulatory disorder complicates his recovery.
“I’ve lived with this fear all my life that if I break it, I’m probably going to lose it,” he said. “If it’s healing, then it’s a long process for me, probably longer than most. But if it’s not healing well, then we’re going to have to look at other options.”
Martin said his fear of breaking his leg was one of the reasons why he sued the PGA Tour for the right to ride in a cart when he played in events, citing the Americans with Disabilities Act. “I worried that if I stepped in a hole, I could break my leg,” he said, “and we don’t want that to happen.”
Martin said that he experiences jolts of intense pain with any touching or twisting. He described the injury as the “most painful thing I’ve ever dealt with.”
“At 47, I’m kind of shocked, because I’ve lived with that fear for a long time,” he said. “I’m grateful it wasn’t a full break. But I’ve got a long road ahead.”