Pieter-Steph du Toit could have had a leg amputated but for an astute early diagnoses by his team-doctor.
Instead the blond and burly 27-year-old Springbok flank is expected to be back in action within 3 months.
After his outstanding performances for the Rugby World Cup-winning South Africans in Japan, Du Toit was voted player of the tournament.
Back in Cape Town, he was playing for hometown Stormers against the NZ’s Blues at Newland when he hurt his leg
He didn’t seem to be seriously injured when he limped out of the game, but fortunately, team doctor Jason Suter was on hand and had the know-how. He was able to make a rapid diagnosis of a rare injury.
Du Toit was rushed to a nearby hospital and soon after underwent the surgery that was required to save his leg.
Team doctor deserves enormous credit
Stormers Head coach John Dobson said: “Doc deserves enormous credit for what he did for Pieter-Steph. Had he lost his leg, it would have been a devastating blow, both for him and for the game.
“If if it wasn’t for the timely intervention, that might well have occurred. Almost half of the 43 reported cases [worldwide] have resulted in amputations.”
Dr Suter said it took less than 15 minutes to understand the extent of the injury suffered by Du Toit.
“He had a hematoma that quickly developed into an acute compartment syndrome. It’s incredibly rare – there have been only 43 [cases] listed in the medical literature.”
“It’s a medical emergency because if you don’t pick it up early they lose blood supply to the leg and then lose the leg.
“Within 15 minutes we realized he was at risk”
“Within 15 minutes of him coming off the field and assessing him, we realized that he was at risk of this particular rare condition.
“He was taken straight to Vincent Pallotti [Hospital], where we had a vascular surgeon waiting and he was operated on that night.
“It’s very unusual, very rare but they had to cut through the muscle to release the pressure and they were only able to close that leg 10 days after his initial injury.
Du Toit, who was born in Cape Town, is the grandson of famed Springbok prop Piet ‘Spiere’ (Muscles) du Toit, still considered to be one of the strongest front-row forwards ever to wear the Springbok jersey.
Pieter-Stef, who has also played for the Durban-based Sharks, has represented South Africa 55 times since his debut in 2013, mostly as a flank, but at times as a lock.
He has been the big kingpin in the highly respected Springbok defense. But he has also done damage to opposing defenses with his powerful rushing runs on attack .