As an NFL cornerback throughout his Hall of Fame career, Deion Sanders was known as “Prime Time.” As the current head football coach at the University of Colorado, he’s known as Coach Prime. And on June 13, Sanders offered a prime view into what’s been afoot with his left foot. An episode of “Thee Pregame Show” posted recently on YouTube showed the 55-year-old Sanders meeting with his University of Colorado medical team. They discussed what to do next with the agony of de feet, or the foot, that Sanders has been facing while trying to kick off his first season as head of the Buffaloes football team.
The discussion even broached the possibility of at some point having to amputate Sanders’ left foot, as you can see in the following video:
Being told that you may need to have a foot amputation is certainly a big deal since you typically have no more than two feet, unless you happen to be a centipede. And while Sanders has performed a lot of feats as a pro football player, professional baseball player, TV commentator, rap artist, business person, person who beat Justin Bieber in a lip sync battle and college football head coach, he doesn’t have too many feet to spare.
In the meeting, Sanders was getting advice from Ken Hunt, MD, an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Donald Jacobs, MD, a Professor of Vascular Surgery, Max Wohlauer, MD, an Associate Professor of Vascular Surgery, and Lauren Askevold, MHS, an Assistant Athletic Trainer, all at the University of Colorado. They discussed surgery to relieve the pressure that Sanders has been feeling. In this case, they weren’t referring to the pressure that’s on Sanders to turn around the fortunes of a big-time football program that’s had a storied past but not so many great stories recently. No, they were referring to the physical pressure on Sanders’ left foot that’s resulted from two of his toes being amputated when he was head coach of the Jackson State University football team back in 2021. During the meeting, Sanders also mentioned that he’s already lost a lot of feeling in his left foot.
The 2021 toe amputation has left Sanders with eight toes on his left foot. He revealed his eight-toe foot to former Baltimore Ravens teammate Shannon Sharpe and pretty everyone else with access to the Internet in the following Club Shay Shay video posted on YouTube earlier this year:
Naturally, one doesn’t get toes amputated just for the heck of it. Toes are important not just for counting things when you have more than 10 things to count. Toes also help stabilize and balance your foot while you are standing or moving around. Your body isn’t just a Wonderland. It’s very well designed to deal with the strains of every day living, too. That’s why you can’t just remove different parts of your body as if they were Lego blocks. Losing just one part of your lower extremities can readily throw off your mechanics in many different ways. It’s easy to forget that you feet have to support not only your entire body weight but the immense force that results each and every time you put your foot down in a literal sense.
Therefore, doctors typically reserve toe and foot amputations for when the risks and problems of keeping such body parts significantly outweigh the benefits. This can occur when blood circulation to a body part is pretty much cut off, starving the tissue of oxygen and nutrients. Without oxygen and nutrients the tissue in a given body part will soon die. And dead tissue can quickly get infected by bacteria and other pathogens. Such infections can rapidly spread to other parts of your body, as long as the body part remains attached to you. So if you have a dead body part on you, you will have to in the words of that song from the movie Frozen, let it go.
So, presumably, Sanders’ toe amputations took place only after doctors had determined that they could no longer be saved. Sanders’ “My Left Foot” saga has been going on for quite a while. Over the years, Sanders has had at least 10 different surgeries to deal with what injuries, blood clots, and blood circulation issues have done to his left lower extremity.
It looks like the ongoing problems with his left foot have left Sanders’ considering yet another surgical procedure: realignment of toes in his left foot to relieve some of the pressure on his foot. During the meeting, his medical team discussed with him the possible complications of such a surgery. Of course, no surgery is without potential risks. As the saying goes, the only minor surgery is surgery that’s performed on someone else. But with the history of blood circulation problems in Sanders’ left lower extremity, Jacobs emphasized, “You just have to understand what the risks are. Things can cascade.” Yes, things could get even more extreme with Sanders’ left lower extremity very quickly. The vascular surgeon warned that they may end up having to amputate additional toes or even Sanders’ entire left foot.
To that Sanders responded, “Well I know what the risks are. I only have eight toes so I’m pretty sure I understand.” Sanders also indicated that he only has so much time to get the toe realignment surgery done if he’s going to go through with it. He explained, “I just want to know what we can do, because I want to do it this summer, because when we get rolling, I’m not going to have time to do it.”
Sanders also posted the video of this meeting on his Instagram account along with the following statement: “As you know I’ve faced some medical challenges with my foot but I’ve never said ‘WHY ME’ – I keep moving forward, progressing.” He added, “I’m CoachPrime and I’m built for this.” He won’t have much time to rest and recuperate. Sanders is aiming for a Prime Delivery to University of Colorado Buffalo fans. They are hoping that the new coach, who was known for high stepping his way to the end zone during his playing career, can high step the football team up to new heights.
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