The four-time Olympic medallist in speedskating suffered a clean fracture through the middle of his femur Thursday night after his motorcycle hit a Toyota Corolla so hard it flipped the car on its side. He had an operation Friday morning to insert a metal rod in to his leg to stabilize the bone.
"He could be walking with some assistance within four to six weeks and could even be weight bearing on his own in about eight to 12 weeks," said Brian Rahill, Speed Skating Canada's high performance director. "From a recovery of a broken femur I think those timelines are fairly positive."
Morrison, from Fort St. John, B.C., may also have internal bruising after the accident and an initial diagnosis identified a small fracture in his transverse process, a non-essential bony extension of the vertebrae. He was taken to Calgary's Foothills Hospital orthopaedic trauma surgery department after the accident and doctors there have been in touch with Canadian speedskating team head doctor Victor Lun.
Morrison is known for his passion for racing, with his Canadian Olympic Committee bio saying that he "loves speed even outside of his sport, including fast cars and motorcycles."
The accident occurred in the northwest section of Calgary. Morrison's motorcycle hit the side of the Corolla with enough force to upend the car. Two women in their 20s were in the Toyota but did not need to be taken to hospital.
"Despite the severity or the intensity of the accident his life was never in danger," said Rahill. "Now they're trying to address a broken leg which is nothing that unusual from that perspective."
No charges have been laid in the accident although Calgary police are continuing their investigation.
"Our team physician, Dr. Victor Lun, was quite optimistic (about Morrison's recovery)," said Rahill. "This is obviously significantly due to the fact of the level of fitness that Denny is at as a high-performance athlete and how much he's always committed to his training regiment."
Morrison has won four career Olympic medals, including one gold (2010) and one silver (2006) in the team pursuit event.
At the 2014 Sochi Games, he won the silver medal in the 1,000-metre event and the bronze in the 1,500-metre race. This season, he finished first in the overall World Cup rankings in those same two events. He also won silver medals in the 1,500 metres and the team pursuit events at the World single distance championships.
This is not the first time Morrison has suffered a serious injury off the speed-skating track. He broke his left fibula while cross-country skiing in Fernie, B.C., December 2012. In that accident, Morrison lost an edge on his skis, went off the course and ran into a fallen log.
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